Subject: UN Completes Count Of E Timor's Residents Ahead Of Poll

Associated Press July 2, 2001

UN Completes Count Of E Timor's Residents Ahead Of Poll

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. officials said Monday they completed a count of East Timor's population as part of preparations for a historic Aug. 30 election, which they say will be held on schedule.

U.N. administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello said 737,811 East Timor residents had been registered.

The count will provide data for the compilation of an electoral roll of East Timorese voters over the age of 17.

They will elect an 88-member assembly to draft a constitution that will take it to full independence next year.

De Mello estimated that around 380,000 people will be eligible to vote. The final number of voters will be confirmed after a 10-day challenge period to the count later this month, he said.

The population registration will also provide valuable economic and social data, he said.

"It has provided all the inhabitants of this country with an identity, which they had, in many instances, lost," de Mello said.

U.N. deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette arrived Monday for a four-day visit to assess election preparations.

"I am very pleased to see the preparations are going to schedule. I am assured that over the coming weeks there will be active debate because I think it is important these elections engage the population," said Frechette.

The United Nations has been administering East Timor since 1999 after its people voted to end Indonesian rule of their homeland. That ballot triggered a wave of violence by anti-independence militiamen that resulted in hundreds of deaths, the displacement of tens of thousands of people and widespread devastation.

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