Timor-Leste: UNMIT statement in response to the sixth report of the Electoral Certification Team

News and Press Release
Originally published
The Electoral Certification Team (ECT) is an independent body appointed by the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 1704 (2006) to assess whether the electoral process for the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Timor-Leste has been proceeding in a satisfactory manner. The team has so far made six visits to Timor Leste - the last one from 4 to 23 April 2007. Following the conclusion of this visit, the team completed its sixth report, now available on the UNMIT website www.unmit.org.

UNMIT recognizes that, while the first round of elections was not perfect, the consensus assessment was that they were free and fair, reflecting the will of the voters. In addition, considering that these are the first national elections which the Timorese authorities have ever conducted, they should be seen as a significant achievement.

In accordance with the Electoral Law, all the candidates had the opportunity to address their doubts and grievances through the existing electoral and judicial mechanisms rather than taking them to the streets, which also reflects well on the public confidence in the national capacity to handle disputes peacefully.

UNMIT notes that this report is preliminary rather than final, covering only the first round of the Presidential elections, and has not considered whether non-or partial compliance with a number of benchmarks was material to the overall results of the past election.

The report did indicate areas where additional improvements are still required. UNMIT has also made this point to the authorities on more than one occasion. It will continue to pursue actively this matter, particularly insofar as further improvements to the legislative framework are concerned.

The electoral benchmarks referred to by the Team reflect international standards and full compliance with these standards is indeed a challenge not only to Timor-Leste but to also to fledging and established democracies.

UNMIT will continue to encourage calm, resolution of complaints through legal means, and respect for the outcome of the elections as announced by the national electoral authorities.

About the UNMIT Electoral Assistance Section (EAS):

Through the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1704 (2006), UNMIT has the mandate 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." The EAS provides assistance in areas of general electoral administration and policy advice, the legal framework, voter registration, information technology, gender issues, operational planning and logistics, training, and field operations.