Timor-Leste: Greater logistical challenges ahead of parliamentary elections

News and Press Release
Originally published
18 June 2007 Dili, Timor-Leste - The UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) says the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 30 will be logistically more challenging as a total of 14 political parties and coalitions present candidates for election.

Reiterating UNMIT's support for the national authorities charged with running the elections, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Finn Reske-Nielsen, said "UNMIT continues to work with the national authorities to ensure that the upcoming election is free, fair and transparent."

For this election, the number of ballot boxes and seals will increase to three or four boxes per polling station instead of two. Other challenges include the increased numbers of electoral material, polling stations and polling staff.

"Preparations for the parliamentary elections are not an easy task and I commend all those involved in the operation - both from UNMIT and the national authorities - for their efforts in ensuring that the upcoming elections will proceed smoothly," said the DSRSG.

As previously done during the run-off presidential elections last May, the number of ballot papers produced will be 20% extra of the total number of registered voters. A total of 652,000 ballot papers will be distributed throughout the country in pads of 50s. At the district level, a reserve will be kept to deal with contingencies.

The distribution of non-sensitive material (including ballot boxes and voting screens) across Timor-Leste's 13 districts started last week with UNMIT providing logistical support. The sensitive material (including ballots and stamps) will be transported from Dili to the district capitals from 26 June and from the district capitals to the 708 polling stations and 520 polling centers by helicopters, vehicles and horses with porters on 29 June.

At the end of polling, the electoral material will be retrieved from the polling centers and moved to the District Counting Centers, where counting will take place, as per the provisions of revised electoral law. The reception and reconciliation of the electoral material will begin on the evening of 30 June and counting will start immediately after. The counting centers will operate from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm until the District Counting Centers complete the process.

This time around counting is expected to take longer than 48 hours. Once this is finalized, all sensitive materials will be returned to the CNE's National Tabulation Center.

UNMIT is mandated through Security Council Resolution 1704 to "support Timor-Leste in all aspects of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary electoral process, including through technical and logistical support, electoral policy advice and verification or other means."

For further information please contact UNMIT spokesperson Allison Cooper on +670 7230453