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Goff Welcomes East Timor Election Result

6 September 2001

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, Phil Goff, congratulated the East Timorese people for the peaceful conduct of their elections and the large voter turn out.

"This is a key step in the preparing East Timor for independence, the first new state of the 21st century, said Mr Goff.

"International observers, including four that New Zealanders, confirmed that the election was free and fair. The results of the election, while not yet final, reflect the will of the East Timorese people.

On provisional results, the largest party, Fretilin has taken 55 seats in the 88 member assembly. The Democratic Party took seven seats and the Social Democratic Party, six.

"Fretilin has an absolute majority in the assembly, but not a two-thirds majority that would allow it to impose a new constitution unilateraly.

"The elections provide the basis for a broad based multi-party constituent assembly to draft East Timor's constitution. After 24 years of oppression this will be the founding document that will carry the aspirations of East Timorese into the future.

"I was also encouraged for East Timor's future when I met with Fretilin Secretary General, Mari Alkatiri in East Timor last week. He promised an inclusive government that would consult extensively civil society.

"I welcome that sentiment. His approach, together with the good will of other party leaders, will provide a solid foundation for peace, democracy and prosperity of the country", said Mr Goff.




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