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Media Release

Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET)

HAK Association building Avenida Gov. Serpa Rosa, Farol, Dili, Timor-Leste

Independent International Election Monitors Gather in Dili


Dili Jill Sternberg or Ruby Rose Lora, +670-331-3324 or +670-734-2535 or +670-732-3838. email:
John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391;

April 2007 – An international delegation of election observers, has gathered this week in Dili to monitor Timor-Leste’s April 9 Presidential election. The Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET), a coalition of grassroots groups working to support new nation’s fragile democracy, will maintain a continuous presence until the results of this month’s presidential contest and upcoming parliamentary election are implemented.

“SOMET supports a free, fair and peaceful democratic process. We plan to stay in East Timor until the last vote is counted and the results are implemented,” said Jill Sternberg, SOMET Coordinator. “If we see shortcomings in the process we will advocate with the appropriate official bodies to correct them,” she added.

Working cooperatively with nonpartisan East Timorese organizations, SOMET will observe and report on all aspects, positive and negative, of Timor-Leste’s 2007 elections.

“We will act in an independent manner, not taking the side of any party or candidate,” said Catharina Maria, SOMET Dili Coordinator. “All SOMET observers are bound by a code of conduct that stresses our non-partisanship and neutrality.”

International solidarity groups organized the non-partisan observer mission at the urging of civil society organizations in Timor-Leste. Many of the observers have long history with Timor-Leste, election observation or both. Several participated in the International Federation for East Timor’s Observer Project, the largest the largest international observer delegation for the 1999 independence referendum.

“Solidarity is not just for elections. Our observers will return to their homes with a deeper understanding of Timor-Leste and a commitment to strengthening ongoing ties with the new nation,” added Sternberg.

SOMET is a grassroots project of the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), Stichting Vrij Oost Timor (VOT) of the Netherlands, Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), and World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA).

If no candidate in Monday’s presidential contest gains more than 50% of the vote, a run off will take place on May 9. Timor-Leste’s current president has said he will not announce the date of the parliamentary election until a new president has been selected. The parliamentary election can not take place until 80 days after it is announced.

More information can be found online at see


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