Friday, April 27, 2007

Partido Democratico Announces Formal Backing of Ramos-Horta

MediaNet Press Release Wire

April 27, 2007 Friday 4:43 PM AEST

Partido Democratico Announces Formal Backing of Ramos-Horta

Dili - 27th April 2007 - Yesterday Presidential candidate Dr Jose
Ramos-Horta and leader of the Partido Democratico (PD) Fernando
Lasama de Arajo held a joint press conference to formally announce
PD's backing for Ramos-Horta in the upcoming second round
presidential elections set to take place on 9th May 2007.

This announcement means that Ramos-Horta now has the backing of all
major candidates that didn't make it from the first round elections,
demonstrating a clear dissatisfaction with the current Fretilin
regime and its conduct during the first round ballot.

At today's press conference Lasama stated, "Fretilin have
demonstrated a total disregard for the people of our country,
thinking that they can buy peoples votes as if it was a possession. A
vote is more than that, it is a civil right and is not for sale. A
free and fair election is the right of our people, one earnt through
many years of suffering and conflict and must be protected.

Today brave people from the village of Watulari protested in person
to parliament about Fretilin intimidation forcing them to sell their
voting cards.

"This is unacceptable," Lasama continued, "therefore, with our focus
on the future, we recognise the need to instigate change through
democratic means, and give our full backing to Jos Ramos-Horta as our
Presidential candidate of choice.

"Mindful of the failures of the Fretilin government over the last
five years, failure to put the interests of the people before
themselves, failure to work with all aspects of Timorese society,
failure to work with opposition parties in the national interest, we
must endorse Ramos-Horta to avoid an unending conflict for the country."

Ramos-Horta stated in the press conference, "I am proud to stand here
today next to Fernando Lasama de Arajo in a call for free and fair
elections in East Timor. I have voiced my concerns about conduct in
the first round publicly, and also in private talks with foreign
ambassadors. I have called upon them to assist in the elimination of
intimidation, in vote tampering, in the acts of government ministers
abusing the free access cards they are given to polling stations.

"I once again call for the establishment of a free society where
people are free to execute their democratic rights of voting free
from intimidation and corruption. I will work with all people, all
parties to build a better future for our people. I will work to hold
to account those that abuse the democratic system to build a country
where all are free from the chains of poverty and suppression. Where
all have the right to an education, to a roof over their heads, to
food and clothing, and most importantly a country built on peace and

For Further information:



CALL: Dionisio Babo Soares - +670 724 3952

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fretilin support down, says observer

Fretilin support down, says observer

Apr 10, 2007

http://tvnz. page/411319/ 1055612

Early counting in East Timor's presidential election suggests support for the ruling Fretilin party has dropped, an international election observer said.
Damien Kingsbury, who is helping monitor the poll in the troubled nation, said that while it was very early days, Fretilin seemed to be falling short of the party's predictions of a landslide victory.

Counting proceeded at an extremely slow pace on Tuesday. With eight candidates splitting the vote, political analysts say its highly unlikely any of them will win the required majority.
They say a second ballot next month, between the two top contenders, will almost certainly be needed to decide who will be the troubled nation's next president.
Kingsbury - from Deakin University's School of International and Political Studies - said Fretilin's Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo" appeared to be struggling.
"On the very early figures the Fretilin candidate 'Lu Olo' Guterres is struggling, but it would be too early to write him off at this stage," he cautioned on Tuesday.
"The indications certainly are that Fretilin is struggling ... that the Fretilin candidate ... is not doing nearly as well as he expected or his party expected.
"The indications are that he is almost certainly not going to get ... elected in the first round as president - that's almost completely off the cards.
"The real question will be whether he gets into the second round."
In the capital Dili - one of 13 voting districts - the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on Tuesday said preliminary estimates put Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta slightly ahead in the presidential race.
However counting is in its very early stages, he cautioned, warning against reading too much into early trends.
Ramos Horta, an independent, along with Guterres and the Democratic Party's Fernando "La Sama" de Araujo are considered the
favourites to replace independence fighter Xanana Gusmao as president.
The United Nations on Tuesday called on political parties to accept the election result when it finally comes, or to challenge it in the courts.
"In some ways the real challenge for the nation begins now - accepting results, includes accepting defeat and using the defeat as an opportunity to form a strong opposition," said the UN's special representative in East Timor Atul Khare said.
The UN congratulated the East Timorese for the absence of violence during yesterday's vote, and said the turnout had been "very high".
"Voting in the presidential elections proceeded without major incidents of violence or intimidation, which is already a very good result for these elections of Timor Leste," Khare said.
"From whatever I saw ... I sincerely believe that the attitude of the voters was positive, confident and excited."
Kingsbury said early indications showed 90% of registered voters had cast a ballot, with only minor technical issues and virtually no incidents of violence.
"The East Timorese themselves came out as they did in 1999, full of hope and expectation, they were early, they were there before
the polling stations were opened wearing their best clothes - happy and committed and I think genuinely committed to having a say in
the future of their own country," he said.
Kingsbury said it would be good for East Timor's stability if the Fretilin candidate made it to any run-off vote.
"I think in terms of political stability in East Timor it would be good for Fretilin to make it into the second round because if they were not successful it would take some of the sting out of their defeat," he said.
"But if they don't make it into the second round I think there is going to be a great deal of disappointment in the Fretilin camp."
Thousands of police, backed by Australian and New Zealand troops, remain on guard in Dili, working to prevent any outbreak of
However, the situation is expected to remain tense for months, with parliamentary elections across East Timor due to follow in

East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was leading but a run-off is likely

By Ahmad Pathoni
DILI (Reuters) - East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was leading in the capital Dili in presidential elections, preliminary vote counting showed on Tuesday, but a run-off looked likely.
The polls in the young nation a day earlier passed peacefully with only fairly minor glitches reported.
Eight candidates contested the vote, including Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace prize winner who spearheaded an overseas campaign for independence from Indonesia.
Monday's turnout appeared to be high and, although official results are not due until next week, an election commission spokesman said preliminary results could emerge on Tuesday.
Ramos-Horta, former guerrilla fighter and Fretilin Party candidate Francisco Guterres and the Democratic Party's Fernando de Araujo were ahead in the capital Dili, where a fifth of East Timor's 1 million people live, according to preliminary figures.
"Preliminary results we have in Dili show Ramos-Horta, La Sama and Lu'olo on top", election commission spokesman Martinho Gusmao told reporters. "La Sama" and "Lu'olo" are the respective rebel nicknames of De Araujo and Guterres during the guerrilla war against Indonesian forces.
The spokesman said Ramos-Horta was leading in Dili with about 30 percent of the vote, followed by De Araujo with around 25 percent and Guterres with about 20 percent.

The Suara Timor Leste newspaper also said Ramos-Horta was winning convincingly in Dili, while the preliminary standings of candidates appeared mixed in some regional areas outside the capital contacted by Reuters.
Over half a million people were eligible to vote in the election, which outgoing President Xanana Gusmao described as a chance to demonstrate his nation was not a failed state.
If no one wins more than half the vote, a run-off will be held, a scenario some analysts see as likely.
Supporters of rival candidates clashed during campaigning last week, injuring more than 30 people and prompting international troops to fire tear gas and warning shots.
But over the election itself, few acts of violence or intimidation were reported by poll observers.
Campaigns had focused on how to reunite East Timorese, split by a regional divide that erupted into bloodshed last May after the sacking of 600 mutinous troops from the western region.
Gusmao, an ally of Ramos-Horta, is not running for re-election but plans to seek the more hands-on post of prime minister in a separate parliamentary election later this year.
Ramos-Horta, who has the highest international profile and is considered the front-runner, appeared upbeat in comments on the elections he made to Reuters at a Dili hotel on Monday.
"So far, I think (it's) very positive; enormous participation of the people. The incidents are marginal," he said.

Ramos dan Lasama Bersaing

From: Abel Pires da Silva
To: renetil@yahoogroups .com ; etsa@yahoogroups. com
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:41 AM
Subject: [ETSA] KCM: Ramos dan Lasama Bersaing

Ramos dan Lasama Bersaing
http://kompas. com/
DILI, SELASA--Total suara yang telah selesai dihitung di tingkat distrik dalam pemilu presdien Timor Leste baru mencapai 20 persen dari total distrik yang ada. Dan sampai pukul 16.30 waktu setempat, Jose Ramos Horta dan Dr Fernando Lasamma da Araujo menempati dua posisi teratas.
Juru bicara Commisao Nacional de Eleicoes, Martinho da Silva Gusmao, di kantornya di Dili, Selasa, menyatakan, "Banyak area yang belum bisa diliput jangkauan telekomunikasi karena keterbatasan peralatan. Bahkan ada beberapa distrik yang belum bisa dihitung karena operator komputer salah password."
Horta dan Lasamma banyak unggul di berbagai distrik yang hasil perhitungannya masih sementara. Dalam pemilu kali ini, terdapat delapan kandidat presiden yang bertarung memperebutkan posisi kepala negara.
Mereka adalah Horta, Lasamma, Dr Joao Viegas Carrascalao, Dra Lucia Maria BF Lobato, Dr Aveillo Mona da Silva, Fransisco Gutererres Lu-Olo, dan Dr Manuel Tilman.
Secara umum, Gusmao mengungkapkan, di Distrik Aileu, Amaral meraih 11.743 suara, di susul Horta (1.586), dan Lasamma (1.869). Di Distrik Ainaro yang memiliki 34 TPS dan 14 di antaranya belum selesai dihitung, Lasamma meraih posisi pertama, disusul Horta, dan ketiga Amaral.
Di Distrik Baucau dengan populasi penduduk kedua setelah Dili, hasil penghitungan justru belum bisa diketahui karena berita yang diterima, penghitungan itu baru bisa dilakukan pada pukul 24.00 waktu setempat hari ini. Di distrik itu, hambatan cuaca dan komunikasi menjadi masalah utama yang hingga kini belum terpecahkan.
Di Distrik Telikai (Viqueque?), Lu-Olo mampu merebut hati para pemilih dan kandidat-kandidat lain tidak mampu menyaingi tokoh politik berusia lanjut itu. Sementara di subdistrik Laga, Distrik Dili, Horta tidak ada saingannya satu pun dan melejit sendirian di atas para pesaingnya.
"Distrik Dili dengan 55 TPS Horta meraih 13.893 suara, Lasamma 5.357, dan Amaral 5.000 suara. Disttrik ini memiliki populasi pemilih sekitar 20 persen dari seluruh populasi pemilih yang terdaftar," kata Gusmao. Di
Distrik Ermera yang menyisakan delapan TPS untuk dihitung, Araujo dan Horta menjadi dua terbesar dengan selisih suara dangat tipis.
Sementara di Distrik Liquisa, Horta mengungguli yang lain diikuti Lobato --satu-satunya perempuan kandidat-- dan Lasamma. "Penghitungan di Distrik Manufahi juga belum bisa dilakukan karena salah password komputer yang dilakukan operatornya. Mohon dimaklumi," kata da Silva Gusmao.

Di Distrik Manufahi, angka penghitungan baru masuk pukul 16.00 waktu setempat dengan hasil Horta meraih 4.447 suara, Lu-Olo (1.806), 1.704 Lasamma, 1.612 untuk Xavier, 478 suara bagi Carrasacalao, 491 untuk da Silva, dan 278 bagi Tilman.
Distrik Manatuto merupakan salah satu distrik yang tidak bisa dijangkau jaringan komunikasi tetap dan bergerak sehingga dari 25 TPS yang ada, masih tersisa lima TPS yang belum bisa diketahui hasil penghitungan suaranya. (ANTARA/AWE)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

East Timor: Voting is taking place under tight security. (AFP)

Last Update: Monday, April 9, 2007. 11:28am (AEST)

East Timor: Voting is taking place under tight security. (AFP)

Polling booth queues grow in E Timor
By Anne Barker

In East Timor there are long queues outside polling booths as 500,000 voters elect a new president.

Many voters arrived long before the polls opened at 7:00am local time.

Voting has been slow, with hundreds queuing at most booths, but only a handful of officials to distribute voting material.

Electoral observers say they are pleased with the turnout and the election mood.

Despite sporadic clashes in recent weeks between rival political groups, today appears to be peaceful.

An official result will not be known for days, but candidates hope to have unofficial word on a winner even tonight.

The ruling Fretlin Party is certain of winning an outright majority today, but experts predict a run-off election in May between the top two candidates.

East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta has cast his vote.

He was applauded by about 30 other voters when he arrived at the polling station in the capital Dili this morning.

Dr Ramos-Horta is amongst eight candidates in the running to replace President Xanana Gusmao, who is stepping down.

Fretlin candidate Lu Olo was also amongst the first to vote this morning.

This is the first presidential election since East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

Distribuicao de Caixas de votos

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Election offers no guarantees for East Timor

April 8, 2007

THOSE who view East Timor's politics as largely benign describe the mood before tomorrow's presidential election as "dynamic". Those who view the situation more ominously describe the environment as "fluid". Either way, it is likely that the outcome expected just a few days ago has been thrown into doubt.

Of the eight candidates for East Timor's presidency, only three are believed to have any real chance of winning — Fretilin's Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, Democratic Party leader Fernando "Lasama" de Araujo and the current prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta.

A week ago it seemed the contest would be between Guterres and Ramos-Horta. Last week, de Araujo became a favourite. All would distinctively shape the political landscape.

A former guerilla fighter, parliamentary speaker Guterres is regarded as a palatable option for Fretilin's hardliners. But support for Fretilin has fallen since the civil conflict of a year ago, for which the Fretilin government has been held largely responsible.

Complicating Fretilin's position, last year's stymied push against Fretilin leader and former prime minister Mari Alkatiri by the party's "Mudansa" (reform) faction has led to an open split. Up to half of the party, largely identified as its youth wing, has now backed President Xanana Gusmao's new Council for East Timor National Reconstruction (CNRT) party, which will contest the elections, with Gusmao hoping to become prime minister.

This split and likely additional protest vote has seriously weakened Guterres' chances of winning the presidency. Should he be successful, however, it will be an endorsement of Fretilin's conservative leadership and back to the problems that led to the violence last year.

Former foreign minister and perceived "clean-skin", Ramos-Horta is standing as an "independent", although Gusmao and CNRT are backing him for the presidency. This should have put him in a prime political position.

However, since assuming the prime ministership last year, Ramos-Horta has been constrained by a lack of parliamentary and organisational support and has been seen as somewhat ineffective.

Further, Ramos-Horta's comments at the recent trial of now-convicted former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, that Lobato's arming of civilians was intended to establish security, has backfired badly.

Although sentenced to seven years for manslaughter, Lobato has not yet gone to jail, living at home under "house arrest". This has angered many, especially those who already had little faith in the justice system.

Ramos-Horta is also seen as responsible for authorising the attack by Australian troops last month on renegade prison escapee Afredo Reinado and his supporters in the town of Same. While Reinado faces charges of murder and escaping from prison, many East Timorese see his actions within the context of last year's troubles and support him accordingly.

The Australian troops hunting for Reinado could no doubt find him if they choose but are holding back for fear that another attack could further destabilise the delicate political environment. Opposition to Fretilin tended to sympathise with Reinado. Ramos-Horta has consequently lost much of that anti-Fretilin vote.

With Guterres and Ramos-Horta both mired in political troubles, the way is increasingly open for de Araujo to come from behind and take the lead. De Araujo was a key leader of the underground student movement during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor and was a political prisoner in Jakarta's Cipinang prison with Gusmao.

De Araujo's political standing is largely built on this foundation, his reformist policies and his coalition with other non-Fretilin parties. De Araujo is also strongly identified with the "young generation" that grew up under Indonesian occupation, as opposed to the "1975 generation" of politicians who spent the occupation overseas or, in a few cases, in the mountains.

Assuming Ramos-Horta cannot recover — and his political rallies have been small — de Araujo will attract the young and anti-Fretilin vote, probably in a second contest between the two leading candidates from tomorrow's election. With Fretilin's "Mudansa" faction behind Gusmao's CNRT, a coalition of non-Fretilin parties is likely to form a majority in the elections, with Gusmao their likely prime minister.

The problem with this scenario is that Gusmao and de Araujo are not only separated by a political generation but they have differing policies. A working relationship between these two built on mutual respect could secure East Timor's future. Their failure to work together, however, could split the parliament and spell further political troubles for this still struggling nation.

Fretilin is likely to view losing with considerable chagrin. If it restricts its loss to active opposition, it will assist this fledgling democracy. But Fretilin's old guard has not yet shown it is prepared to play a peaceful political game. The elections are thus a possible step forward for East Timor, but not a guaranteed one.

Associate professor Damien Kingsbury is director of the master's program in international and community development, Deakin University. He is co-editor, with Michael Leach, of East Timor: Beyond Independence, soon to be released by Monash University Press.

Tabela de Distribuicao de Centros de Votacao

Tabela da Distribuicao de Centros de Votacao, numero de vontates, cartoes de votos a nivel dos distritos, subdistritos e sucos.
Publicado pelo STAE

Calendario Eleitoral Presidencial

Calendario Eleitoral Presidencial Publicado pelo STAE

Friday, April 06, 2007

Insults fly on eve of East Timor poll

Insults fly on eve of East Timor poll

April 7, 2007

The presidential election will be a verdict on
Fretilin, Lindsay Murdoch reports from Dili.

JOSE RAMOS-HORTA is contemplating a possible new
life writing books and travelling the world on
the lecture circuit as 400 porters and 90 ponies
this weekend carry ballot papers into East
Timor's mist-shrouded mountain villages before a
potentially explosive presidential election.

"If I observe my political demise on Monday I
will have the freedom to write and be a private
citizen, which I would enjoy immensely," said Mr
Ramos-Horta, co-winner of the 1966 Nobel Peace
Prize, who took over as Prime Minister amid violent upheaval last year.

More than 500,000 Timorese have registered to
vote in Monday's election, East Timor's biggest
test since it gained independence five years ago.

The people who defied intimidation and threats to
vote for their freedom in 1999 will reveal what
they think of the ruling Fretilin party's
leadership which, its critics say, has been too
slow in improving the lives of 1 million people,
one-third of whom often do not get enough to eat.

The vote will also be first opportunity for
Timorese to indicate whether they believe
Fretilin should continue to run the country after
the upheaval that left scores dead and forced
more than 150,000 people from their homes, many
of whom are still living in squalid refugee camps, afraid to return home.

Mr Ramos-Horta thinks he has only a one in three
chance of winning the vote for the presidency,
despite widespread speculation in the
international media that the job was his for the taking.

He blames Fretilin, the party he helped form in
the 1970s, for his possible defeat. "If I had not
accepted the prime ministership I would win this
election with more than 80 per cent … By trying
to have a balancing act, saving this country,
dealing with Fretilin, being nice to Fretilin, I have paid a price," he said.

Analysts in the capital, Dili, agree he is one of
three frontrunners in the eight-candidate poll.
Fretilin officials, meanwhile, are confident
their candidate, Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres,
will replace the founding President, Xanana Gusmao.

They insist that the events last year that led to
their leader, Mari Alkatiri, being forced to step
down as prime minister were part of a secretly
planned coup to push Fretilin from power.

But Mr Ramos-Horta and Mr Guterres face a strong
challenge from Fernando "Lasama" de Araujo, head
of the reformist youth-based Democratic Party,
who seems to have attracted disgruntled Fretilin supporters.

Mr de Araujo is a former student activist who
spent seven years in Indonesian jails and was one
of the key organisers of East Timor's campaign
for independence. Unlike the other frontrunners,
he cannot be blamed for last year's crisis or for
the disappointment that people's lives have not
improved since winning the long struggle for independence.

"Lasama's party is the party of the future," Mr Ramos-Horta said.

Monday's vote will mark the start of months of
uncertainty in East Timor, where 1600 United
Nations police and 1200 Australian and New
Zealand troops are deployed in case of trouble.

The poll outcome is not expected to be announced
for several days, creating a volatile period when
supporters of parties that suspect they have done
badly could resort to violence. Even then, a
clear-cut result is unlikely because the winner
must get 51 per cent of the vote. The two
candidates with the most votes will then contest
a run-off election in early April.

Next, the East Timorese will choose a new
parliament in a midyear election that will bare
deep-seated hatred among the country's tiny
Dili-based political elite. Mr Gusmao, backed by
his own fledgling party, will take on Mr
Alkatiri, who still runs Fretilin from the
position of secretary-general, in a looming
bitter fight for power and access to more than $1
billion of revenue from Timor Sea oil and gas, sitting in a New York bank.

The roots of the enmity between the country's two
most powerful figures goes back to the 1980s,
when Mr Gusmao took his Falintil anti-Indonesian
guerillas out of Fretilin. Their differences are
complex and partly ideological. Mr Alkatiri wants
to see Fretilin remain the all-dominant ruling
party; its central committee will probably
nominate him to return to the prime ministership if it wins the election.

Mr Gusmao, who is still widely popular despite
his lack of leadership during last year's crisis,
insists he is the best person to unify the
country. He wants to unlock the money that Mr
Alkatiri's government invested in a petroleum
fund, saying it is useless having money sitting
in a bank while the poor go hungry and the young
have no hope of employment. To win, Mr Gusmao
needs support of the main opposition parties,
including Mr de Araujo's Democratic Party, which
has worked hard to build support where most voters live, outside Dili.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he would tell his supporters
to vote for Mr Gusmao, his friend and political
ally in the fight in which both sides are already trading insults.

Mr Alkatiri has branded members of Mr Gusmao's
party as liars. Speaking to a small group of
foreign journalists on Thursday, Mr Ramos-Horta
unleashed an extraordinary attack on Mr Alkatiri,
describing him as "Fretilin's worst enemy", who
behaved in office as if he was leading a
superpower instead of one of the world's smallest
and poorest nations. If Fretilin did not install
a new leader it would lose the general election
and be reduced to an "insignificant" group within a year, he said.

After almost 12 months of mainly gang-based
attacks in Dili, there have been only sporadic
outbreaks of violence during presidential campaigning so far.

Four candidates complained yesterday of being
disadvantaged by intimidation, violence and a
delay in distributing passes for their
scrutineers to monitor the vote. A veteran
politician, Joao Carrascaloa, told journalists in
Dili that election officials had been
manipulating arrangements to favour Fretilin.

In a televised address yesterday Mr Ramos-Horta,
Mr Gusmao and Dili's Catholic bishop, Alberto
Ricardo, told the East Timorese to vote without
fear for whoever they believed would be the best president.

With Australian combat troops continuing to hunt
Alfredo Reinado in the central mountains, the
rebel leader has been unable to disrupt campaign
rallies. United Nations police are investigating
sporadic attacks mostly outside Dili, as well as
a raid on the National Electoral Commission
headquarters in Dili on Wednesday night.

A UN-appointed Independent Electoral
Certification Team has criticised a lack of
preparation for the vote, raising the possibility
it may not certify the result.

The three-member team, which includes the
Australian election expert Michael Maley, has
warned of problems that include candidate
registration and delays in setting up the National Electoral Commission.

But the UN's special representative in Dili, Atul
Khare, says he is confident the vote will be free
and fair. He told journalists this week that the
most important time would be the day after the
elections, when "the loser must accept the result
for the benefit of all Timorese".

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Church blesses presidential candidate in Tim

Sydney Morning Herald

Church blesses presidential candidate in Tim

Lindsay Murdoch in Dili and agencies
April 5, 2007

THE Catholic Church has made a surprise intervention in East Timor's
presidential election, signalling its support for the former student
activist and political prisoner Fernando "La Sama" de Araujo.

In a blow to the eight other candidates, including the Nobel laureate
Jose Ramos-Horta, the church's representative on the National
Electoral Commission, Martinho Gusmao, said yesterday Mr de Araujo
had the "character" to lead East Timor out of crisis.

Father Martinho told journalists in Dili that priests and bishops in
more than 200 churches across the country would not nominate a
preferred candidate during masses on Easter Sunday, the day before
the vote. But that later, outside church walls, priests would be free
to tell worshippers who they believe is the best candidate to replace
Xanana Gusmao, who has not nominated for re-election. More than 95
per cent of East Timor's 1 million people are at least nominally Catholic.

While Father Martinho stressed Mr de Araujo was his "personal" choice
for president, his decision to back him will strongly influence what
priests say on election eve.

Father Martinho made his comments despite being on the 15-member
election commission, the independent body that is supervising the
conduct of the election. He denied his stand was a conflict of
interest."We enjoy the freedom to express whatever we want," he said.

Mr de Araujo, who heads the Democratic Party, also has the backing of
the fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, a cult hero for many
Timorese, who has for weeks eluded Australian soldiers hunting him in
the rugged central mountains. Reinado, who is wanted for murder and
armed rebellion, released a statement last week saying that Mr de
Araujo would bring "peace and justice" to the country, after violent
upheaval last year that left 37 dead and forced more than 100,000
people from their homes. Three candidates have emerged as
frontrunners in the election, the first to be organised by East Timor
since the country gained independence in 2002.

The ruling Fretilin party's Francisco Guterres attracted more than
5000 supporters to a rally on the last day of campaigning in Dili
yesterday. Thousands also attended rallies for Mr de Araujo and Mr
Ramos-Horta. United Nations police were called to stop a number of
rock-fights in the city which resulted in several injuries including
to two police.

Xanana Gusmao yesterday called for the release of money from the
nation's $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) Timor Sea oil revenue fund,
saying his people are living in misery while the nation saves for its future.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ramos Horta to quit if he loses election

Ramos Horta to quit if he loses election

April 3, 2007 - 6:44PM

East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta says he'll quit politics if he loses next week's presidential elections.

The Nobel Peace prize laureate hopes to switch jobs and is one of eight candidates vying to replace independence fighter Xanana Gusmao as East Timor's president in the Easter Monday poll.

Ramos Horta says he's relaxed about the election - the first since East Timor was granted independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a decades-long struggle.

However opponents say he has struggled with poor attendance at his campaign rallies in the nation's west.

Ramos Horta was campaigning in the Fretilin stronghold in Baucau, in the country's east, where he enjoys wide support.

"I'm totally relaxed, I'm not worried about whether I win or I lose," he said.

"If I win the election, I win. If I lose, I win my freedom.

"There's life after president or after prime minister."

He said he would not campaign in the upcoming national parliamentary election, but would quit politics and "enjoy life as a private citizen".

"There couldn't be a more comfortable life than being a private citizen and providing unsolicited opinion," Ramos Horta said.

"I would take the message from the people that they want me to retire, and that I deserve a proper early retirement.

"I would not hesitate to follow that advice and retire for good."

Ramos Horta, who enjoys a high profile in the international community, is campaigning on two issues - "to heal the wounds of the country" and to fight against extreme poverty with promises to provide food, accommodation and education to the poor.

East Timor is one of South-East Asia's poorest countries with many people living on less than $US1 ($A1.23) per day.

"I have been very pleased with the progress in communicating with the people and their response has been overwhelmingly supportive," he said.

"People have known me for a long time and know who I am and what I stand for, that I don't play politics."

Tight security surrounded Ramos Horta as he campaigned metres away from where a rally for rival party Fretilin was held just an hour earlier.

Riot police lined up outside the outdoor rally, in a bid to prevent a repeat of an attack on Ramos Horta's supporters last week in Viqueque where 21 people were injured.

Trucks of youths shouting support for Fretilin circled outside the venue as Ramos Horta delivered a message of unity to thousands of his supporters.

"East Timor is a small country, if we split into two we become a very, very small country," he said to cries of "viva Horta!"

He told his supporters they should vote for the person they wanted as president, describing Fretilin as just a symbol.

"Don't vote because they are a historic symbol of Fretilin; vote because you know that candidate could be a good president for you," he said.

Ramos Horta, who is running as an independent, rated his chance of victory over his biggest rival, Fretilin candidate Francisco Guterres Lu'Olo, as "reasonable".

To win Ramos Horta must overcome the powerful symbolism of the Fretilin logo on the ballot paper, which many in the largely illiterate nation identify with East Timor's long struggle for independence.

Ramos Horta replaced Fretilin leader Mari Alkatiri as prime minister following a wave of violence last year, linked to the sacking of 600 army members, in which 37 people died and 150,000 were displaced.

By Ramos Horta said there was a mood for change in the community.

"People are feeling that the Fretilin leadership has let them down," he said.

"They are extremely disappointed with the issue of weapons distribution to citizens (during last year's crisis) and the failure of the last five years of Fretilin rule to improve living standards of the vast majority of people.

"Above all Fretilin has suffered from a perception of arrogance.

"Definitely there's a need for a new direction."

Ramos Horta vowed to work with any party if elected, and rejected speculation he was aligned to Gusmao's new party, which will oppose Fretilin in the national election later this year.

"I have absolute agreement with the point of view of President Xanana in terms of the issues that I care about such as inclusiveness, tolerance, compassion for the poor," he said.

"On all of those, we agree, so there's no need for any electoral alignments of any sort."

Ramos Horta hoped the rest of the campaigning would be free of violence, after his supporters were attacked last week.

"Unfortunately there are many Fretilin extremist elements who have been behind most of the incidents of violence," he said.

However he said the Fretilin leadership did not condone the violence.

He said the violence was "a show of exasperation" by Fretilin supporters.

"By they do the most damage to themselves by threatening people and inciting violence," Ramos Horta said.

"The people of this country, they are traumatised by violence.

"They will reject any individual or organisation that is seen to instigate violence," he said.

© 2007 AAP

Sunday, April 01, 2007

UNMIT - Press Conference - 29 March 2007

Domingo, Abril 01, 2007
UNMIT - Press Conference - 29 March 2007
Obrigado Barracks
Caicoli, Dili

SRSG Khare: Bom dia, good morning and once more thank you for coming today to our press conference.

I am delighted that the campaign to help voters select their President, which began last Friday, has so far gone off very well without any notable reports of violence and intimidation.

This is a direct tribute to the people of Timor Leste who are clearly manifesting their commitment to a peaceful democratic process.

It is also a tribute to the authorities of Timor Leste - assisted by the international community through the United Nations – who are working to ensure a credible election.

I would like to congratulate the DSRSG Finn Reske-Nielsen and his team within the Electoral Assistance Section of UNMIT and also UNDP who have supported the STAE and the CNE to ensure that the presidential election on April the 9th will be free, fair and whose results would be broadly acceptable to all.

The campaign of all candidates would obviously focus on their vision and goals for the developments of Timor Leste. However a common goal must unite all campaigns and that goal is inclusiveness.

The importance of inclusiveness is defined in Rule 15 of the Code of Conduct signed by all Presidential candidates and witnessed by the representatives of the church, civil society the organ of sovereignty and myself on the 15th of March, which states, and I quote:

“… A language that ensures a peaceful environment, free of defamation, non-threatening, not encouraging violences, and without personal criticism towards persons or a group of people, notably other candidates and their supporters…”

I want to stress that the elections must have a restorative and unifying impact and must not on any account lead to divisiveness.

I would now like to pass over to DSRSG Reske Nielsen who will provide you with more details and information about how the United Nations is assisting STAE and the CNE.

DSRSG Reske-Nielsen: Thank you very much and good morning everybody.

As we all know, unlike the previous elections, the responsibility for conducting the Presidential and Parliamentary election in 2007 rest with the state institutions of Timor Leste, principally STAE in the Ministry of State Administration and the National Electoral Commission, the CNE.

However, as you know the United Nations has been given the mandate by the United Nations Security Council to provide extensive assistance to the electoral process in particular to the STAE and the CNE to ensure that the elections are indeed free and fair.

I would like to take this opportunity to brief or update you on the assistant thace has been provided by the United Nations, been provided for the past several months and we intend to do over the next several days in
the run up to the Presidential elections on the 9th of April.

The approach that we have taking is in accordance with the concept of an integrated mission and that means that some of the responsibilities for supporting the electoral process are being handle by UNMIT and others by other members of the UN team in particular UNDP and UNICEF.

At the present time we have about 200 to 225 international UN staff members working on the electoral issues – including a significant number of UN volunteers – in addition we have close to 200 national staff also working on this area.

All these staff work in various advisory roles providing support in particular to STAE and CNE.

The United Nations is also providing considerable logistical support and that support will intensify in the coming days.

As you know STAE with the approval of CNE has established 504 polling centres across the 13 districts of Timor Leste. Together with STAE and CNE the United Nations has undertaken an assessment of all of these locations and we have concluded that 71 out of the 504 would be difficult to reach and 39 of them cannot be reached by road.

For the next 10 days we will be supporting the government in delivering the voting materials to all of these areas including the hard to reach ones where we will be providing support through four helicopters that we have at our disposal and arrangements are also being made to reach the difficult to reach places by using porters and horses.

Security as you know will be provided by the UN police and supported by PNTL and we will have further support by the International Security Forces as required

In consultation with the national authorities and stakeholders the UN police has developed a thorough security plan that we confident will ensure security on election day so that everybody will feel safe coming to the polling stations to cast their vote.

We are also expecting that there will be a large number of national and international observers. We do expect that there would be about 1000 national observers across the country and we expect well over 100 international observers for the first round of Presidential elections.

Training and support for the observers will be provided by UNDP. The electoral observation is extremely important, in that, all of the observers are independent and would therefore provide a valuable role in ensuring that the elections are indeed free and fair and transparent and that they would meet the appropriate national and international standards.

Let me also mention that United Nations through the UNDP has been providing support to all 8 Presidential candidates. That is being done through a candidates resource center that is located here in Dili that enables each candidate to produce various kinds of campaign materials. This is not being done on a cash basis but by providing the equivalent of US$10,000 of in kind support.

Before concluding my opening remarks let me also mention that the voter registration is now completed and I think it has gone very well. We do not have the official number yet but it seems that the number of people who have register by far exceeds the number that we had estimated before the registration started. As a result of this we expect that a total of about 500,000 Timorese would be eligible to vote on the 9th of April and thank you very much for your attention.

SRSG Khare: Thank you very much DSRSG and I’m sure that with all these
details all of you would agree that when I said in my opening remarks that I sincerely wanted to congratulate DSRSG Reske-Nielsen and his team I was amply justifying in doing that.

We will take a few questions now.

Question: I would like to ask you about some accidents taking place in Baucau, Lospalos and Viqueque, the supporters of some candidates were creating some noises there and PNTL would not take a strong action against such persons. Why just leave it there. Can you give us some information regarding that?

SRSG Khare: On the whole, all elections, as I said in the beginning have been without major security incidents. All candidates have been campaigning well in different parts of the country. There are reports of some security incidents, which I have been receiving from different parts on different dates. I am happy that these incidents have not led to any major disruption of an electoral rally. I will want to assure that all these incidents including the incidents which were mentioned by you and some of other incidents are being looked into directly by the police and appropriate action against all groups who indulge in criminal activities will be dealt. I am also delighted that CNE is carefully observing the respect for the code of conduct, which was signed by all the Presidential candidates.

Question: Yes Sir, I understand that as of yesterday the official financial support from the government to the candidates of US$7500 per candidate was not paid yet. Don’t you consider that this hampers the fairness of the campaign?

SRSG Khare: I was told yesterday that the required financial support which was to be made available to the candidates and the required financial support for the CNE is being released or has been released to them.
Separately I would want to reiterate again what DSRSG Reske-Nielsen said that there is additional support that has been made available in a totally non-discriminate manner to all of the eight Presidential candidates by the UNDP. I think I would rather like to focus on what the UN is doing to assist them rather then to focus on what somebody else has done or not done yet.

Question: Just in detail. Did you get the information about the payment did you have to ask for it or was the mission provided with the information.

SRSG Khare: This is not a question of the mission. This was a meeting which the Deputy Prime Minister was conducting with all the diplomatic community and he himself volunteered this information.

Question: Thank you very much. As we all know that in the past few months the Certification Team of the United Nations is concerned about the electoral law and they came up with some recommendations that should be fulfilled by the Parliament or the institutions that must review the law.
Has it been done already or has it been developed?

SRSG Khare: Way back on 12th of February when there was discussion in the UN Security Council on UNMIT, I mentioned the need for the authorities of Timor-Leste to implement the key recommendations of the Electoral Certification Team to have a credible process. The Security Council then adopted resolution 1745 extending the mandate of this mission and also including the need for key recommendations of the Electoral Certification Team to be implemented.

Some of the required legislative changes have been incorporated in the recent electoral law but much more needs to be done. We have discussed at all levels and I have personally written to President Gusmão, to the President of the National Parliament and to the Prime Minister outlining the need for further changes. And I would request DSRSG Reske-Nielsen to give you more details on the Electoral Certification Team and its recommendations.

DSRSG Reske-Nielsen: Thank you. Indeed you have all seen the five reports that have been issued so far by the Certification Team and what we have done is to assist the government in drafting relevant legal provision that had been recommended by the team.
As the SRSG mentioned there was a supplementary package passed by the National Parliament last week which takes fully into account some of the recommendations that had been made including the provision for the counting of the ballots to take place at the polling station concerned on the day of voting. We have prepared a further package and that is under consideration by the government but we also have to be realistic in terms of what can be done in the very short and the very near term, given the fact that everybody is extremely busy with the electoral process. What the CNE and STAE are doing is trying to accommodate the recommendations that have been made through a certain regulation instead of in some cases through legislation.

The comments of the Certification Team pertain not only to legislation but also to other aspects of the electoral process. An important recommendation in this regard was to ensure that the CNE has available adequate support staff to carry out their functions. I am happy to note that over the past week or so there has been a significant strengthening of the secretariat of the CNE. There are also concerns in the Fifth Report about the security situation in Dili but I believe that we are all confident that the security situation will continue to improve. In act over the past three weeks we have seen a significant decline in a number of violent incidents in the city. And as I mentioned in my opening remarks a very elaborate plan has been developed to ensure the security of all citizens including those who choose to vote on the 9th of April.

One final comment on the legal framework, some of the recommendations of the Certification Team of course pertained only to the Parliamentary elections. Therefore I think there is enough time for the National Parliament to consider those provision after the Presidential elections.
For those of you who do not have a copy of the latest report of the Certification Team Allison Cooper would be happy to provide you with a copy or if you have internet access you can actually get it from the UNMIT website,

SRSG Khare. Thank you. Any other question? Kyodo?

Questions: You have talked about security. In the past the hospital was one of the places often in trouble. If something happens at the hospital, it would be one of the places very hard to access..

SRSG Khare: We will keep that in mind.

Question: I just want to brief and bring to your attention that there are people living in Tibar, Klibur Domin, aleijados [with physical disabilities] and STAE has not send in people to register their names and they are now complaining because they have their rights to vote but have not been register to participate in the elections.

DSRSG Reske-Nielsen: Thank you. I cannot speak for STAE but I do know that there was assistance for specific locations that were set for people to go to in order to register. It was the responsibility of each citizen who wished to obtain a voters card to go to the registration centers, go to the proper registration process and have their cards issued. It is not the responsibility of STAE to go around from one location to the other in the city to ensure this. I think we would agree that there were enough registration centers for people to go to. I should also note that the registration process was for new voters meaning individuals turning 17 by the 9th of April and for those who had lost their old voter registration card and any voter can use of course the old voter registration card. You can either use the new one, the old one or also use your national passport.
It has been clarified to me that the question in Tibar was also about a group of disable individuals and we would bring this to the attention of STAE.

SRSG Khare. Thank you. I don’t see any further questions. I wish all of you good participation in a good campaign, which has been going so far. I sincerely believe that the role of a strong independent media is critical for any democracy. I hope that you will continue to exercise that role during this period. Thank you.