|Subject: SMH: Pro-Jakarta groups claim bias in voter
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:03:19 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald Monday, July 19, 1999
EAST TIMOR Pro-Jakarta groups claim bias in voter registration
By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Balibo
Pro-Indonesia supporters in East Timor are on a collision course with the United Nations mission over identification requirements for registration on the territory's voting roll.
At a mass rally in this dowdy hillside town, where five Australian-based news men were murdered by Indonesian troops in 1975, a coalition of staunch pro-Indonesia political groups and militia denounced UN bias and called on supporters in the district to boycott registration for now.
"I urge the people of Bobanaro to wait for the moment because UNAMET [the UN Assistance Mission in East Timor] are messing with the process ... they are not doing the right job," said Mr Guillerme dos Santos, the hardline bupati, or mayor, of Maliana. On Saturday, before a crowd of 2,000 people, Mr dos Santos, a bitter critic of the UN-organised referendum for East Timor, called on UNAMET to change the rules on voter registration.
"Yesterday was the start of registration," he told the crowd. "The only rule you need to know is that you need a KTP [identity card] to register and nothing else should be required by UNAMET.
"UNAMET must understand this clarification that a KTP is enough. If there are any other demands from UNAMET then I will ask my people to boycott - all you need is a KTP."
The UN requires two sets of documents to be enrolled as a voter. They are proof of identity, either a passport, identity card or refugeecard, and proof of voter eligibility in the form of a birth, marriage or baptism certificate. To be allowed to vote, a person must be at least 17 years old and born in East Timor, have one or more parents born in East Timor, or be married to someone who is the child of at least one parent born in the territory. Asked whether the UN would consider Mr dos Santos's demand, the UN spokesman in Dili, Mr David Wimhurst, said: "Absolutely not." Rules on eligibility had been carefully drawn up by voting and legal experts and agreed to by the Portugese and Indonesian governments, Mr Wimhurst told the Herald. At one point in the rally, Mr dos Santos threatened to evict an Australian journalist who wrote that he had threatened UN and Australian peacekeeping officials' lives if they did not remain neutral.