There are 2 election processes coming up in the next few months – Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The Presidential election has been called for 9 April – about 2 months from now. My understanding is that the Parliamentary election must be held within 80 days of the Presidential election so it must be held by 28 June.
The Fretilin party claim the Parliamentary election must be held by the end of May. I don’t know why but there may be more on this to come.
A 3 person foreign election certification team has released 3 reports on the progress of the organisation for these elections. Their most recent report #3 concluded :
On this basis, the Team finds that at present the electoral process in Timor-Leste is not proceeding satisfactorily. The findings set out at Annex 3 are of substantial significance, and relate to all but one of the main areas on which the Team has been mandated to focus. It is therefore imperative that appropriate corrective action, as recommended in this Report, be taken as a matter of the highest priority.
I downloaded the report from the UNMISET web site and rather than attempt to read it (its not exactly comfortable reading), skimmed my eyes over a number of sections that are shaded. These are the key action items.
The thing that strikes me is that with 2 months to go, the certification team’s action items include a number of recommended law changes in relation to electoral laws. I counted recommendations to repeal 3 laws and recommendations to amend 18 others.
These law changes are based on meeting benchmark (international) criteria and also to tidy up electoral laws that are in conflict with the constitution.
This will be a test. Changing 21 laws in 2 months.