Subject: LUSA: First full voter registration campaign making good headway

East Timor: First full voter registration campaign making good headway

Dili, July 6 (Lusa) - More than half of East Timor's estimated 433,000 eligible voters have been registered five weeks into the country's first full electoral census, an official said Tuesday.

Tomás do Rosário Cabral told Lusa that more than 246,000 voters, or nearly 57% of the total, had been registered so far in the campaign that began May 31 and runs through the end of July.

He said the voters' lists would be put to first use in East Timor's first local elections, planned to take place by the end of this year.

In the upcoming balloting, the Timorese will vote for the chiefs of 443 "sucos", or communal regions, and about 2,300 village leaders, said Cabral, director of Dili's elections technical department.

The two-month-long voter registration campaign is being financed by the UN Development Program and five donor nations, including Portugal.

Lisbon provided euros 75,000 of various materials, including registration books and electoral cards.

East Timor's first elections, legislative and presidential votes held under UN auspices prior to the country's independence on May 20, 2002, took place under specific legislation and without a full electoral census.


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