Subject: RA: Report critical of East Timor election

Also AFP: Report critical of East Timor election

ABC Radio Australia

Report critical of East Timor election

Last Updated 30/04/2007, 22:12:01

An independent report says the first round of East Timor's presidential election failed to meet most of the benchmarks set out by a UN monitoring team.

The report was completed by an independent team, formed at the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to assess the April 9 election.

The report says improvements are needed in the election process before the troubled nation returned to the polls next week for a runoff vote for the top job.

The runoff will be contested by Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and ruling Fretilin party candidate Francisco Guterres.

Both candidates failed to win 50 percent of the vote in the April 9 poll -- the nation's first since it gained independence in 2002 -- prompting the runoff.

The report found the election fully satisfied just 13 of 52 international benchmarks that the team had established.

"Every effort needs to be made to ensure that at the second round of presidential polling, and the forthcoming parliamentary election (in June), all of the benchmarks are satisfied," the report concluded.

The UN mission in East Timor said despite the report's findings, the election had been free and fair.

"UNMIT recognises that, while the first round of elections was not perfect, the consensus of the assessment was that it was free and fair, reflecting the will of the voters," it said in a statement.

"The electoral benchmarks reflect international standards and full compliance with these standards is indeed a challenge not only to Timor-Leste (East Timor) but also to fledgling and established democracies," UNMIT said.

Failed benchmarks included not having clear regulations governing voter registration and vote counting.

---

Agence France Presse -- English

April 30, 2007

Report critical of East Timor election

DILI, April 30 2007

The first round of East Timor's presidential election failed to meet most of the benchmarks set out by a UN monitoring team, a report released Monday said.

The report said improvements were needed in the election process before the troubled nation returned to the polls next week for a runoff vote for the top job.

The runoff will be contested by Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and ruling Fretilin party candidate Francisco Guterres.

Both candidates failed to win 50 percent of the vote in the April 9 poll -- the nation's first since it gained independence in 2002 -- prompting the runoff.

The report was released by an independent team formed at the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to assess the April 9 election.

The report found the election fully satisfied just 13 of 52 international benchmarks that the team had established.

"Every effort needs to be made to ensure that at the second round of presidential polling, and the forthcoming parliamentary election (in June), all of the benchmarks are satisfied," the report concluded.

The UN mission in East Timor said despite the report's findings, the election had been free and fair.

"UNMIT recognises that, while the first round of elections was not perfect, the consensus of the assessment was that it was free and fair, reflecting the will of the voters," it said in a statement.

"The electoral benchmarks reflect international standards and full compliance with these standards is indeed a challenge not only to Timor-Leste (East Timor) but also to fledgling and established democracies," UNMIT said.

Failed benchmarks included not having clear regulations governing voter registration and vote counting.

Actual vote counting had been secure and the process transparent, the report noted. It also said it was not mandated to make a judgement on whether the election had been free and fair.

"The benchmarks do not represent an aspirational statement of achievable best practice: they simply encapsulate what is to be found in a typical well-run election," it said.

East Timor voted for independence in a UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, triggering an orgy of killing by pro-Jakarta militia before independence from Indonesia was declared in 2002.


Back to May menu
April

World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu