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Domestic Electoral Monitoring Organization Joint Statement

Dili, 1st September 2001

The expected election is over and questions on the social unrest during the process of election proved not happened

On the same date, two years ago the East Timorese people came together at the polling stations to determine the future of East Timor. Two years later, the same people came to elect their representatives for the Constituent Assembly, to discuss and to adopt the Constitution of East Timor.

Domestic observers deployed in polling centers across East Timor now report a summary of their findings.

General findings

1. In general, the election of Constituent Assembly was effected peacefully,

2. The electoral participation was very high,

3. Good cooperation between IEC and the local people by involving them as polling staff,

4. Good cooperation between IEC and the observers.

The people have shown a high participation of 91 % per cent of the eligible voters, however we should examine the reasons why 9% were missing from this election. Three reasons could be identified to explain the 9% missed.

1. Some technical preparation were not properly arranged by IEC,

2. The socio-geographic of East Timor country

3. Political apathisme.

Specific findings

1. Some of the voters were "rejected" by IEC staff to vote (Dill),

2. Minor dispute between CivPol and the voters in Bebonuk (Dili),

3. Active intervention of some of the party agents in the polling stations,

4. Polling stations staff didn't controlled the active intervention of the party agents,

5. One person is identified as voting twice (Dili)

6. The polling did not start on time in many places,

7. Slow examination by identification officer,

8. Polling was restricted to the finishing time of 4.00 pm without considering the late start time in the morning, which is resulted in some people not being able to cast their vote (Dill).

9. Unequal allocation of the voters at polling centers (Dill).

Other findings regarding the observers either national or international.

1. Some of the polling centers were not observed, particularly in the remote villages,

2. Some of the observers were late to monitor all the election process because they had to vote first in different polling station,

3. Certain polling centers were not observed because of the geographic location and the lack of transportation for domestic observers.

Many people have shown a high desire of participation in this election, with serious efforts. The observers recorded some events as proof of this effort. A lady gave birth a child on the way to the polling center, in Lospalos; a mother found that her sick baby had died in her embrace in the polling center in Fatubessi, Ermera; in another station in Ermera, a father who's twelve year daughter had died on the same day did not want to lose his right to vote, but spending several hours in the queue waiting to vote.

Even though people still questioned the peaceful situation after the announcement of the outcome of this first election as they questioned the political parties campaign and the polling day.

Considering the high participation of the people and high expectation of our people for a peaceful future in East Timor, tolerance and mutual respect among political parties and the party leaders, is very important. We would like to recommend the following:

1. All of political parties and organizations which have declared to be affiliated with certain political parties to be open and be courageous in accepting whatever the result of the election,

2. The party leaders should be alert and control whatever might happen from inside or outside their party to disturb peace and stability of the country.

It is really exciting that the election was conducted peacefully and democratically, but the coming days are also very important for East Timor. Considering the very important task of the Constituent Assembly, to discuss and to adopt the Constitution for East Timor, a peaceful and safe atmosphere should be assured by all parties.