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Importance of Timor-Leste Election

UN Stresses Importance of Monday’s Timor-Leste Election for Longer-Term Stability

New York, Apr 4 2007 4:00PM

Next week’s landmark presidential election in Timor-Leste, the first in the tiny nation since gaining independence from Indonesia in 2002, is important not only for peace in the country but also for longer-term stability, senior United Nations officials said today, highlighting the world body’s support for the countrywide polls.

“Monday’s election is the first step in the electoral process that will see a newly elected president and parliament in place by the second half of this year. This will signify the continuance of the democratic development of State institutions within this country and it is these institutions that will facilitate democratic consolidation,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Timor-Leste Atul Khare told reporters.

Mr. Khare, who heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), said he was pleased about the absence of any serious incidents of violence or intimidation in the campaigning period so far, although expressed regret over several reported incidents. He said this shows the commitment of the Timorese to a peaceful democratic process.

UNMIT’s support for the 9 April polls includes a Candidate Resource Centre to support all eight presidential campaigns, which provides candidates with the use of computers and photocopy machines. In addition, all presidential candidates have received a $10,000 in-kind grant for the production of materials, such as flags, posters, banners and flyers.

“This election is an important step on the path to peace and stability in Timor Leste. The support provided for the electoral process through the Resource Centre reaffirms the commitment of the UN to ensuring the elections are run in a fair, credible and transparent manner,” said the UN’s Representative for Electoral Support, Finn Reske-Nielsen.

After the presidential polls, the Centre will become the Political Party Resource Centre based in the capital Dili, with three district branches established in Baucau, Maliana and Oecussi. UNMIT is mandated through Security Council resolution 1704 to support all aspects of this year’s presidential and parliamentary electoral process, including providing technical and logistical support and electoral policy advice. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is providing support and facilitation to both national and international observers to the polls, as well as other electoral assistance.

ENDS

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