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Media Release

Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET)

HAK Association building Avenida Gov. Serpa Rosa, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste

SOMET Issues Preliminary Observations
of Timor-Leste’s Presidential Run-off

Dili Contacts: Jill Sternberg +670-734-2535 or Catharina Maria +670-734-2397; email: somet@etan.org

International (New York): John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391; email: etan@igc.org

For Immediate Release: May 16 2007
 
Observers from the Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET) monitored the second round of Timor-Leste's presidential election on May 9. The nonpartisan observers from seven countries included 10 international and 13 East Timorese observers. They were spread out across eight of Timor-Leste 's 13 districts, monitoring 59 polling stations. Below are SOMET's preliminary observations; a more complete report will be available shortly.
 
 
Dili tabulation center, May 9.
Photo by Charles Scheiner.
 

SOMET congratulates the people of Timor-Leste for their second successful election this year and is encouraged that both candidates, in their post-election statements, were conciliatory and appealed for national unity. Such appeals were sorely lacking during the campaign period when the candidates attacked and accused one another of campaign violations. Most unfortunately, supporters occasionally resorted to violence.
 
SOMET team member Professor Roy Pateman expressed hope that the political parties contesting the 30 June parliamentary election will  "focus on substantive issues and policies to move the country forward, rather than on accusations and recriminations against rivals. "
 
The voting went smoothly and steps were taken after the first round in the presidential race to correct problems noted by SOMET and other observers, but some irregularities still need to be addressed. Inconsistencies in election regulations remain, such as what constitutes an invalid ballot.
 
Due to a printing error on the ballot, polling staff declared dozens of ballots cast invalid before recognizing the problem. This did not change the election outcome (due to the large difference between the two candidates). A similar error could affect the parliamentary election where 12 parties and 2 coalitions are competing for 65 seats.
 
SOMET unhappily observed that a large number of the polling staff once again neglected to check whether voters ' fingers were marked with indelible ink before they were allowed to vote. While improved counting procedures and fewer candidates meant a smoother tallying of votes, few polling centers actually followed the procedures for this election. These problems need to be addressed before the 30 June parliamentary election.
 
Party and candidate agents were again present at the polling stations, though their interference with the voting process greatly reduced. While they were often present in greater numbers than officially permitted, they functioned primarily as verifiers for their candidate. SOMET still observed agents checking voter IDs and directing the voting process in some locations.

Viqueque votes.  
Viqueque votes, May 9. Photo by Elinde Kersbergen, SOMET-NL.  

SOMET recommends the Technical Secretariat for Election Administration (STAE) issue only two party agent credentials per party for the parliamentary election to better regulate their number in any polling station, and that polling staff strictly enforce the rule of one agent per party per polling station. A second person with a credential would be allowed to spell a colleague. The parties must educate their party agents on their rights and responsibilities, including that they cannot interfere in the election process, but that they can officially contest breaches in the election laws and regulations.
 
Finally, SOMET repeats its recommendation that "future elections be administered by an independent agency which is not under the jurisdiction of any government ministry." Although STAE significantly improved its performance in the second presidential round, SOMET continues to believe that this is an important step toward insuring that future elections are free of partisan interference.
 
SOMET also regrets that STAE did not make provisions, as required by the Constitution of Timor-Leste, for all citizens 17 years and older to have the opportunity to vote. Those hospitalized and imprisoned could not vote in this election. Citizens living abroad, including those serving the government, are not yet able to exercise in this most basic right, one the Timorese fought for during 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
 
According to Timor-Leste's election officials, 81% of those registered (424,475) voted on 9 May. Current Prime Minister Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta was elected the nation's second president with just over 69% of the vote. The challenger, speaker of the parliament Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, received nearly 31% of the valid votes cast.
 
SOMET was formed at the invitation of civil society organizations in Timor-Leste to support an election process which is transparent, free and fair. SOMET cooperates with nonpartisan Timor-Leste groups HAK Association, Timor-Leste NGO Forum, La'o Hamutuk, FOKUPERS, Bibi Bulak and Kadalak Sulimutuk Institute.
 
SOMET is a grassroots project the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), the Free East Timor Foundation (VOT) in the Netherlands, Initiative for International Dialogue (IID) in the Philippines, Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), and World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA).
 
SOMET monitored and reported on the first round of the Presidential Elections held April 9. SOMET's report on the first round of presidential voting and other information can be found online at http://etan.org/somet.htm.

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see also

Elections 2007 - campaigns; results; laws and regulations; observer reports; and other background


Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET)
HAK Association building Avenida Gov. Serpa Rosa, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste

Kontaktu Dili: Jill Sternberg +670-734-2535 ka Catharina Maria +670-734-2397; email: somet@etan.org Internasionál (New York): John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391; email: etan@igc.org

Atu ba Publika Lalais: 17 Maiu 2007

Publikasaun ba Media

SOMET Hasai Resultadu Observasaun Inisiál
husi Eleisaun Presidensiál Segundu Ronde

Observadór sira husi Misaun Observadór Solidaridade ba Timor-Leste (SOMET) halo monitorisasaun ba eleisaun presidensiál segundu ronde iha dia 9 Maiu. Observadór non-partisan sira mai hamutuk husi rai 7 inklui observadór internasionál nain 10 no observador Timorense nain 13. Sira halo monitorisasaun iha distritu 8 no estasaun votasaun 59. Resultadu observasaun inisiál SOMET nian hakerek iha okos mai; relatóriu kompletu atu prontu iha semana oin mai.

SOMET fo parabens ba povu Timor-Leste hotu ba susesu husi eleisaun segundu ronde no fo koragem ba kandidatu nain rua ba sira-nia statementu depois eleisaun remata, ne’ebé apelu ba dame no unidade nasionál. Apelu hanesan ne’e menus liu durante tempu kampańa wainhira kandidatu sira ataka no akuza malu kona ba violasaun ne’ebé akontese durante kampańa. Infelizmente apointe-sira mos dalaruma halo violensia.

Membru Ekipa SOMET, Professor Roy Pateman hato’o ninia esperansa katak partidu politiku ne’ebé tuir eleisaun parlementariu iha loron 30 Junhu hakarak “foku ba asuntu substantivu-sira no politika ne’ebé bele lori estadu la’o ba oin, duke kolia kona ba akuzasaun no akuza malu kontra kandidatu seluk.”

Votasaun la’o ho diak no problema ne’ebé SOMET no observadór sira seluk identifika iha eleisaun premeiru ronde hadia tiha ona, maibe sei presiza atensaun ba iregularidade ne’ebé iha nafatin. Se iha inkonsistensia iha regulamentu eleisaun nian, hanesan kona ba dezisaun ba buletin de votu invalidu.

Tamba iregularidade iha imprime buletin de votu, ofisiais estasaun votasaun deklara buletin de votus dosente invalidu molok hare problema didiak. Maibe ida ne’e la muda resultadu eleisaun (tamba resultadu iha diferensia a’as entre kandidatu nain rua). Failansu hanesan ne’e bele fo impaktu ba eleisaun parlementariu ho partidu politiku 12 no koligasaun 2 kompete malu hodi hetan kadeira 65.

SOMET observa fiscais estasaun votasaun barak dala ida tan la hare didiak votante-sira liman fuan nian tau marka ho tinta tiha ona ka lae, molok fo lisensa ba votante-sira ba vota. Ofisiais sira hadia prosedur apuramentu no ho kandidatu uitoan signifika katak apuramentu votus bele la’o diak liu tan, estasaun votasaun balun deit tuir prosedur apuramentu ba eleisaun dadauk ne’e. Problema sira ne’e tenki hetan atensaun molok eleisaun parlementariu iha loron 30 Junhu.

Oficiais husi partidu no fiscais sira marka presensa iha estasaun votasaun, maiske sira nia intervensaun iha prosesu votasaun menus. Sira barak marka presensa liu regulamentu ne’ebé iha, maibe maioria husi sira hatene sira nia papel hala’o verifikasaun ba sira nia kandidatu. Iha fatin balun SOMET sei hetan katak fiscais sira hare votantes nia kartaun electoral no maneja prosesu votasaun.

SOMET rekomenda STAE fo akreditasaun ba fiscais nain 2 ba partidu ida-ida iha eleisaun parlementariu hodi maneja didiak sira nia presensa iha estasaun votasaun, no oficiais estasaun votasaun tenke implementa regulamentu katak fiscais ida deit husi partidu ida-ida marka presensa iha estasaun votasaun ida-ida. Fiscais segundu ho akreditasaun bele troka ninia kolega. Partidu politiku sira tenki eduka sira nia fiscais kona ba sira nia direitu no responsibilidade, inklui sira la bele halo intervensaun iha prosesu eleisaun, maibe sira bele protesta kona ba violasaun ne’ebé kontra lei no regulamentu eleisaun.

Ba dala ikus, SOMET repeita fali ami nia rekomendasaun katak “ba oin, presiza agensia independenti mak maneja eleisaun ne’ebé la os parte ida husi ministeriu governu nia okos.” Maiske importante liu katak STAE hadia sira nia servisu iha eleisaun segundu ronde, SOMET kontinua fiar katak ida ne’e etapa ne’ebé importante atu halo eleisaun ba oin livre husi intervensaun partisan sira.

SOMET mos la kontenti katak STAE la halo regulamentu, hanesan obligasaun husi Konstitusaun Timor-Leste nian, katak ba sidadaun Timorense tinan 17 ba leten iha oportunidade ba vota. Sira ne’ebé moras iha ospital no iha komarka la bele vota iha eleisaun dadauk ne’e. Sidadaun Timorense iha rai liur, inklui sira ne’ebé servisu ba governu, la bele implementa sira nia direitu fundamental, nudar objetivu ida luta nian durante tinan 24 iha okupasaun Indonesia nia laran.

SOMET harii hodi responde konvite husi organisasaun sosiadade sivil iha Timor-Leste atu fo apoiu ba prosesu eleisaun ne’ebé la’o ho transparante, livre no justu. SOMET servisu hamutuk ho grupu Timorense non-partisan hanesan Asosiasaun HAK, Forum ONG Timor Leste, La’o Hamutuk, FOKUPERS, Bibi Bulak no Institutu Kadalak Sulimutuk.

SOMET hanesan projeitu baze ida husi East Timor and Indonesia Action Network(ETAN) iha Estadus Unidus, Free East Timor Foundation (VOT) iha Olanda, Initiative for International Dialogue (IID) iha Filipina, Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) no World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA).

SOMET halo monitorisasaun no hasai relatóriu iha Eleisaun Presidensiál Premeiru iha loron 9 Abril. SOMET nia relatóriu kona ba votasaun presidensiál premeiru no informasaun seluk bele hetan online iha: http://etan.org/somet.htm.

-30-

 

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