FRETILIN’s East Timor electoral victory confirmed
September 10, Dili
East Timor’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has endorsed the results of the 30 August elections, today confirming that the former resistance group, FRETILIN has won a 57 percent majority in the Constituent Assembly. The number of seats falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to draft East Timor’s first Constitution without consultation with other parties, and will force the party that offered opposition to the 25-year Indonesian occupation of the territory into a coalition with other parties.
According to the IEC, of the 88 seats in the assembly, FRETILIN gets 55, confirming preliminary results announced 5 September. Its nearest rival was the Democratic Party with seven seats. The results will be sent to UN head, Kofi Annan, in New York, who is chairing a special UN session on East Timor today.
UN officials praised the elections, which went off largely without violence. Bonv Souk-Scohn, Chair of the Board of Electoral Commissioners, credited the East Timorese people for this, saying it showed a long-term desire for peace. “People overcame the fears of the democratic process which had been burned in their minds by past tragic events,” she said.
Widespread electoral violence during the campaign period was feared across the territory, which is still reeling from the massive destruction endured after the last democratic referendum on independence from Jakarta, when Indonesian backed militia and regular troops went on a killing and burning rampage, destroying much of the infrastructure and leaving up to 2,000 dead. The UN-backed administration and UNDP supported a massive civic education campaign, which was largely aimed at avoiding a replay of this violence. Head of the UN mission in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello said that the peaceful election had “proven the profits of doom wrong.”
The Constituent Assembly is charged with preparing a constitution for the UN-run territory, which is expected to hold a presidential election next near. Former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao is widely tipped to win.
BD: FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor / Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente - A collection of recent speeches, documents, statements, news and reports
BD: Peoples' Participation / Partisipasaun Politika / Partisipasi Politik / Participação Dos Povos - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles