Subject: "Without pro-integration group, E. Timor election will still happen"

Surya Timor; Monday, 5 June 2000

ST ≠ "Without pro-integration group, E. Timor election will still happen"

KUPANG ≠ Responding to an UNTAS statement which said that it would not participate in the 2001 elections in E. Timor if the UN didnít clarify UNAMET fraud in the referendum, UNTAET rep. in Kupang, Colin Stewart, stressed that the elections will still be carried out even without the pro-integration group. Colin said there are already several well-known groups like Fretilin and UDT as well as other political parties that will participate in the coming elections although there is not yet an official procedure for registering for the election. Concerning the Popular Timorense Party (PPT) led by Herminio da Silva da Costa, Colin said that if the leaders of that party are willing, theyíll be invited to E. Timor to work together in determining the process for E. Timorís political future. He said that each political party that wants to participate in the 2001 election must first accept the referendum results and the UNTAET govt. now in E. Timor. When asked if the PPT could register for the election from Kupang, Stewart said he didnít know since official procedures had not yet been issued by UNTAET, but he did say there was a strong possibility this would not be permitted. In short, if someone wants to found a political party to participate in the E. Timor election, they would need to be in E. Timor in order to participate in the process. Responding to the statement by Florencio Mario Viera who accused Stewart of lying about the referendum being held democratically, Stewart said, "Everywhere in the world there is always some election fraud. But it is certain that the small degree of fraud canít cancel the referendum results [ in which pro-independence got nearly 80% of the vote and pro-integration 20%]." If UNTAS thinks he is a big liar, then the world is also a liar, because he wasnít the only one who was involved in the referendum but there were observers from other countries including from Indonesian NGOs. Florencio said that UNTAS was not questioning the results of the referendum so much as the process of the referendum that was full of fraud. He said that the 2000 observers were all pro-independence and that UNAMET had rejected the UNTAS suggestion so that there be witnesses at the polls and that the vote be counted directly at the polls.

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