Subject: East Timor assembly set to become parliament - UN

East Timor assembly set to become parliament - UN

JAKARTA, April 19 (Reuters) - East Timor's constituent assembly, to be elected at the end of August, will most likely become the country's first democratic parliament, a senior U.N. official said on Thursday.

"Obviously what happens after the constituent assembly is elected depends on what the assembly decides, but it is expected to transform itself into the first parliament of East Timor," the United Nations' chief electoral officer in the territory, Carlos Valenzuela, said.

The ballot is scheduled for August 30, the second anniversary of East Timor's landslide vote for independence from Indonesia's 23-year rule.

East Timor has been under U.N. administration since the 1999 vote for independence and it hopes to become fully independent by the end of this year.

Voter registration is underway across the territory for the election of the unicameral chamber comprising 13 district representatives and 75 nationally elected members.

At least 14 political parties are expected to participate in the election with veteran pro-independence party Fretilin currently a clear favourite.

Valenzuela told reporters the result of the ballot in the former Portuguese colony would be announced within 10 days of the vote.

After the vote to split from Jakarta, army-backed pro-Indonesian militias ravaged the impoverished territory and killed as many as 1,500 people.

More than 250,000 people were evacuated or forced across the border to Indonesia's West Timor where some 80,000 people remain in militia-controlled camps.

The United Nations is trying to repatriate all the refugees before the end of voter registration on June 20.

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