Timor-Leste: UNMIT welcomes the signing of the political accord ahead of the 30 Jun election

Dili, May 28, 2007 - The head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has welcomed the signing of a document that harnesses the collective will of all political parties to a free and fair June 30 election.

Importantly, the Political Party Accord also covers basic principles of governance after the elections. It commits all parties to a constructive and inclusive democratic process for the new government and opposition.

The Accord has the agreement of all 16 political parties in Timor-Leste.

The head of UNMIT, Mr Atul Khare congratulated all parties for their participation and willingness to reach an agreement.

"The Accord commits the winning party to representing the voices of the majority while listening to and accommodating the needs of the minority. It will also ensure that the minority will adopt a constructive role as a dynamic opposition capable of providing democratic checks and balances.

The new parliament will need a strong and vibrant opposition to ensure that democracy continues to mature in Timor-Leste," Mr Khare said.

"In the Accord, the pasties commit themselves to ensure that this takes place."

Also in Dili on Friday, the political parties signed a "Code of Conduct" that commits all parties, their candidates, their representatives and supporters to accept the results, or to challenge them only in competent courts; and to campaign positively through programmes of action not personal criticism of other candidates.

The Code of Conduct was drafted and approved by the national authorities charged with running the parliamentary election.

"Today's signings demonstrate clearly the agreement of all political parties to play their role freely, fairly and transparently not just during the campaign and voting period, but in the formation of the new parliament and the opposition," Mr Khare said.

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