The election period coincided with a time immediately before the 2007 coffee harvest which should start coming on-stream in mid-July. For all the international election observers who have swarmed all over Dili over the past few weeks, you were out of luck. Supplies of the good stuff are/were not to be found.
Except if have your finger on the pulse and arrange forward orders for your personal supplies. We are doing fine with our top shelf Maubisse coffee and will be OK until the new season stuff starts filtering through in a couple of weeks.
Two things crossed the radar screen in the last 12 hours.
Firstly, Dubya has set a stunning example for the rest of the world to follow by giving (via presidential intervention) one of his political mates (Scooter) a reprieve from jail. Top work pal. Leading by example – NOT.
And I see that the foundation stone has now been laid for the new presidential palace here. The new palace is being donated by the Chinese government. Now that’s prioritising “aid” money, isn’t it ? Another NOT I am afraid. Better kick out the OZ military from the palace site first I suppose. More votes in palaces than basic infrastructure and security.
The latest figures from CNE (the electoral authority) show that over 40% of the vote has now been counted.
With the Dili vote not starting until mid-morning on Tuesday, the figures had been a bit distorted with an early strong showing from the strong Fretilin areas in the east. But as the strong CNRT vote in Dili came on-stream, the Fretilin vote dropped to a more predictable level.
Both CNRT and Fretilin have done well in the areas you would expect with Fretilin doing quite well in Oecussi where most other parties did not campaign anywhere near as hard. I don’t know how they did it but the Oecussi vote was completed well before the end of Tuesday. Several of the other districts will still be battling to finish by Friday. Dili counting may yet go into the weekend.
Even though there are days to go before counting is complete, the international observer groups are falling all over themselves to release press statements on how well the voting process (mostly voting day itself and the pre-election campaigning) was conducted. Look up your thesaurus under gush.
If anyone ever thought there would be a frenzied evening of vote counting culminating in the result around 10pm followed by the acceptance/concession speech by the winners and losers, it aint gonna happen here.
The local media play a pretty minor role in the collection, aggregation and dissemination of election results and the electoral authority don’t exactly make it easy either.
It looks like counting will take 3 to 5 days. About 10% of votes have been counted by Sunday evening. Dili vote counting has not even started yet.
Why, you ask. Its all to do with the voting system. The new voting rules put in place for these elections almost makes it mandatory to have all ballot boxes received in district counting centres before counting can start. And there is a huge rigmarole associated with removing ballot papers from boxes, unfolding them (they are probably folded about 6 times so they can fit into the ballot box slot), grouping them into lots of 50 and randomising them. And this happens before you even start counting.
Rupert would be most annoyed by the lack of ratings potential.