Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 3 July 2007

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed.]

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

UNMIT ­ MEDIA MONITORING

THE UN INTEGRATED MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE DOES NOT VOUCH FOR THE ACCURACY OF THESE REPORTS

National Media Reports

Petitioners did not destroy the nation

The Vice Chairman for Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs at the National Parliament, Mr. Clementino dos Reis Amaral, reportedly said that the petitioners want to contribute towards the stability of the country.

"The petitioners never wanted to destroy the nation. They are Timorese and want to contribute to the stability of the country," said Mr. Reis on Monday (02/7) at the National Parliament. (STL)

Coalition protests, transferring votes to Fretilin

On the second day of the counting process, the ASDT/PSD coalition in Baucau complained that the polling staff transferred their votes to the ruling party Fretilin.

This incident, which also delayed the counting process in the District, was objected by national, international and political party observers. CNE Coordinator of Baucau District Lucas Ximenes said that the ASDT/PSD coalition has good reason to bring this case up to the national authorities for investigation. (STL)

PNTL Screening will take place

At a press conference held on Monday (2/7) in Dili, the Director of the Police Academy, Inspector Julio da Costa Hornai, said that the PNTL screening process will resume in the coming days.

He explained that the objective of the screening process is to determine the candidate' ability, dedication and professionalism to do the job. The screening will focus on the candidates' behaviors towards community work, knowledge and respect for human rights, detention, etc. (STL, TP and DN)

European Union praises the media

At a press conference held on Monday (2/7) in Dili, the Electoral Observers Commission of the European Union acknowledged the good conduct of the media during the electoral process. (STL)

Horta: "refusing elections results demonstrates lack of loyalty"

President José Ramos-Horta on Monday (2/7) called upon the Timorese people, especially the party leaders, to accept the results of the parliamentary election. Not accepting the results would demonstrate lack of loyalty to the nation and the people.

"Essentially we all have to recognize the results of this election. If we refuse to do so, we would destroy the democratic efforts of the people and their sacrifices they have made," said Mr. Horta. (DN)

Estanislau: "People must remain calm and accept results"

Prime Minister Estanislau Aleixo da Silva reportedly called upon the population and political party supporters to remain calm and accept the results of the parliamentary elections, which will be announced in a few days. (DN and TP)

Atul Khare: "The security situation throughout the country remains calm"

At an UNMIT press conference held on Monday (02/07) in Dili, the SRSG, Mr. Atul Khare, said that the security situation throughout the country remained calm throughout the electoral process. (DN)

Some Administrators wrote down the registration card numbers

Democratic Party (PD) representative Julião Mausiri Agosto said that some village representatives and administrators wrote down the numbers of voters' electoral cards before they cast their votes. (TP)

International Media Reports

20 Percent of East Timorese Urgently Need Food Aid

By Nancy-Amelia Collins

Dili, East Timor

02 July 2007

VOA News

At least 20 percent of East Timor's people need food aid and are severely malnourished while 40 percent of the population is chronically malnourished. Aid organizations say donors must respond soon to avoid a crisis in the nation. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in the capital Dili has this report.

East Timor is suffering from food shortages caused by floods and plagues of locusts that cut the harvest of the country's most important crop, corn, by 30 percent this year.

Rice, cassava, and other cereal crops have also been hard hit. Aid officials fear the situation will worsen as heavy rains continue to cause floods in parts of the country.

The United Nation's World Food Program and the Food and Agricultural Organization say at least 15,000 tons of emergency food assistance is needed to avoid a crisis.

Tarek Elguindi, the WFP country director in Dili, says the situation is grave.

"About 200 to 220,000 people will be required to [be] assist[ed] October to March 2008. This is in addition to displaced people in Dili and other places, so it's a grim picture we have to face," he said. Officials estimate around 10 percent of East Timor's one million people still live in refugee camps more than a year after fighting between security forces forced them to flee their homes.

Although around three thousand international peacekeepers have restored order, many of the displaced are either still too afraid to return home or had their homes destroyed in the violence.

All of this worries the WFP's Elguindi. He says donors must respond quickly or the situation will likely worsen.

"It is food, it is not like bank transfer you transfer in 48 hours. It is food to come here, [it takes] from three to five months to reach here," h' added. "So really we need it immediately, immediately."

The country's June 30 parliamentary elections could slow the government's response. Elguindi says political leaders will be busy forming a new government and will not focus on the issue of hunger.

"So we're talking about the end of the year and nobody will be around to take care of it and nobody will be experienced to deal with it and this is a concern," he said.

The head of the U.N.'s Mission in East Timor, Atul Khare, says there are concerns the food crisis could cause more violence in the country.

"If there is a shortage of food, it can on occasion lead to a lot of disenchantment and corresponding security challenges for this young nation. So we are concerned about it," said Khare.

East Timor, which became fully independent in 2002, is desperately poor and more than half the population is unemployed.

President Jose Ramos Horta, who was elected last month, says there is enough food for the next few months, but agrees more is needed to stave off starvation.

"We believe we have enough at the moment for the immediate needs for the next few months, but the same time as new needs arise because of the unexpected rains and floods, we are going to order more," said Mr. Horta. "We have our own resources, but also we have some significant resources from the consolidated appeal that we launched a few months ago together with the United Nations."

Last year's violence shattered the young nation. But the peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections over the past three months have raised hopes the country may finally be on the path to stability.

Most people here hope that will translate into a future where everyone will have enough to eat.

Disputes Delay East Timor Vote Count By Nancy-Amelia Collins Dili 02 July 2007

Vote counting has been slightly delayed in the East Timor parliamentary elections but the count has finally gotten under way in the capital Dili, two days after the June 30 elections. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins reports from Dili.

By Monday afternoon, more than 20 percent of the votes have been counted.

Disputes held up the process in the capital Dili, which accounts for around 20 percent of the vote. The two top parties vying for places in the 65-seat parliament wanted extra members to observe the counting process.

Maria Angelina Sarmento, the spokeswoman for the National Electoral Commission, known as the CNE, says party leaders wanted 10 members from each party to monitor the count, more than allowed by regulations.

After negotiations, which delayed the counting in Dili by a day, the commission agreed to allow the extra observers, but Sarmento says formal reprimands have been issued.

"A formal complaint was presented by party agents and the CNE responded by allowing the entrance of 10 agents per party," she said. "Despite the agreement, which can be justified by the tension surrounding these elections, the National Electoral Commission issued a formal reprimand to political parties in which it condemns their undue behaviour that constitutes an electoral offence."

Although 14 parties fielded candidates, the election is mainly seen as a fight between the ruling Fretilin party and the new CNRT party of former President Xanana Gusmao.

Political analysts doubt either will win an outright majority, or say a coalition government will likely be formed.

East Timor descended into violence last year when fighting between security forces descended into arson, looting and gang violence.

Over three thousand international peacekeepers remain in the country after Dili requested their presence to stop the violence.

The European Union Election Observation Mission monitoring the vote says it has been generally peaceful.

The head of the EU delegation, Ana Gomes, says her team is confident the parties will accept the outcome of the election without resorting to violence.

"So what I have now just to say is … by stressing our confidence that the leaders of East Timor of the different parties will absolutely hear the call of the people for peaceful settlement of disputes, for dialogue, for government of the country which will be inclusive and genuinely democratic," she said.

Preliminary results are expected later this week.

Ruling party leads E Timor poll BBC News 03 July 2007

Counting in East Timor's parliamentary election has got under way, with early results showing a slight lead for the ruling Fretilin party.

More than 500,000 votes were cast in Saturday's election, which has been hailed as generally free and fair by European Union election monitors.

Fretilin's main challenge is a new party created by independence hero, and recently president, Xanana Gusmao.

Neither party is expected to get an overall majority.

About a third of the votes had been counted by early Monday, and Fretilin was found to have secured 30%, ahead of the 22% for Mr Gusmão's party, election officials said.

Fretilin and Mr Gusmão's National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor (CNRT) have dominated the election for the 65-seat parliament, which will also determine who becomes the country's new prime minister.

Analysts say that CNRT may boost its final vote tally, by picking up votes cast for some of the 12 smaller parties that also ran in the election.

Complete results are expected later in the week.

Fragile peace

The EU election team - which had 36 monitors in districts across the tiny nation - praised the election.

The Timorese people have "chosen for the first time, in a democratic manner and in a generally peaceful atmosphere, their representatives in parliament," the team said. There had been fears of violence, but campaigning was largely peaceful.

A fragile peace has existed in the impoverished country since violent feuding between rival units in the fledgling army and police forces spilled onto the street last year.

The clashes left more than 30 people dead, forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and led to the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

The Fretilin leader and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri - who was forced to resign after last year's violence - has accused Mr Gusmao of authoritarian tendencies.

Mr Gusmao used his campaign to tell supporters that Mr Alkatiri had already tried - and failed - to run a successful administration.

Saturday's poll comes a month after former Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was elected president, vowing to end violence in the young nation.

Mr Gusmao chose not to seek a fresh term as president - a largely ceremonial role - preferring to seek the job of prime minister.

The former Portuguese colony of East Timor broke away from 25 years of Indonesian rule in a 1999 referendum. It was placed under UN protection until it achieved independence in May 2002.

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)


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