What next ?

The international press have been widely reporting on the election outcomes and to be honest, I think they got bored and left. Meanwhile, we wait for the electoral commission (CNE) to make a statement on what happens next.

I believe a definitive statement from CNE is coming Tuesday afternoon – maybe.

To summarise the position as I understand it, I think it goes like this :

  • There were 8 candidates for the president’s job. Unless one of the 8 received more than 50% of the votes, a second round run-off will be held – currently presumed to be 8 May.
  • The Fretilin candidate Francisco Guterres (aka LuOlu) won around 26% of the vote, the independent Jos Ramos Horta (presumed to be really CNRT) won 22% and the Democratic Party’s Ferdinand de Araujo “LaSama” was third with around 19%.
  • There are a number of complaints from various polling stations about irregularities, ranging from insufficient ballot papers to inconsistent declaration of invalid voting papers to fundamental errors in aggregating the votes to poor voter education. It is a distinct possibility that a re-count of some ballot boxes will be held and a a possibility some polling stations will be asked to conduct a re-vote. So the above numbers may change.
  • Ramos Horta appeared to win in Dili and some surrounding areas quite convincingly and when the numbers were first tallied, Ramos Horta appeared to have a substantial lead. When numbers came in from the east of the country where Fretilin is strong, the numbers shifted back the other way. LaSama was a big winner in the western districts.
  • At this stage, no-one is presuming that the final numbers will alter the relative positions of the 8 candidates, so everyone os still presuming a LuOlu vs. Ramos Horta run-off election in May.

Kate over at East Timor Journal gives a great account of the voting details and some of the problems.

The final statement from CNE will be important and may set the scene for the run-off election. Both LuOlu and Ramos Horta need to win support from followers of the other 6 candidates. At this stage, most expect Ramos Horta to pick up the majority of these votes, but this will depend on whether the other 6 candidates recommend support for a particular candidate, leave it up to their followers to decide or recommend not voting at all.

I believe the vote itself has provided the people with the best idea so far of what the country’s general voting intentions might be. Pre-election polling is still pretty unsophisticated and I think some people will change their vote based on the popularity (or unpopularity) of their choice.

By the end of the week, we will all have a better idea of what might come next.