For a nation that only won its hard-fought battle for independence 15 years ago, Timor Leste has travelled a long way fast. On 22 July, the Timorese people voted for the fourth time in parliamentary elections to elect the 65 members of the National Parliament. As the first election administered solely by the Timorese themselves, without the guiding hand of UN officials, Saturday’s poll was a significant milestone and a remarkable success. After all, this is a nation that has had to more or less build its democracy from scratch. Former revolutionary leaders exchanged their fatigues for business attire, drafted a constitution and created democratic institutions and governance. Of course there was help from the international community but there is no taking away from what has been achieved on the ground.
Articles about voting issues in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
Preliminary results from East Timor’s parliamentary election indicate that a change in leadership appears likely, as the leading member of the governing coalition has fallen behind its junior coalition partner. The National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), led by the former independence hero Xanana Gusmao, won just 28 percent of the vote, down from 36.7 percent in the 2012 election, which it won. Fretilin, or Revolutionary Front for an independent East Timor, appears to have won the election with 30 percent – essentially the same level of support it won five years ago.
Voters in East Timor queued up on Saturday to cast their vote in the country’s fourth parliamentary elections since independence in a ballot where campaigning has focused on development and jobs in Asia’s youngest democracy. More than 700,000 East Timorese are registered to vote in the country, which has a land area slightly smaller than Hawaii and is home to 1.2 million people. Over 20 political parties are vying for 65 seats in parliament as frustration grows over the government’s failure to use the wealth generated by oil and gas sales to support development and create jobs. The parliamentary election will determine the country’s prime minister. The official results of the election is expected to be announced by Aug. 6, although preliminary results should come much earlier.
Thousands of East Timorese ended weeks of political rallies and entered a campaign blackout on Thursday before parliamentary elections at the weekend, with fears for the economic future of Asia’s youngest democracy the primary concern for voters. More than 20 political parties are vying for 65 seats in East Timor’s parliament as frustration grows over the government’s failure to use the wealth generated by oil and gas sales to support development and create jobs. The parliamentary poll, which will determine the next prime minister, follows the victory of former independence fighter Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres in a presidential election in March. The president is largely a figurehead, with the government run by a prime minister chosen by the party or coalition that wins the majority of votes.
On July 22, Timorese will once again cast their vote in the country’s fourth parliamentary election since independence from Indonesia in 1999. With the March presidential election now almost a distant memory, all eyes are on the hotly contested parliamentary election. It is interesting to note that despite all the news and controversy surrounding the three front-runner parties, more than 20 parties are registering to contest the election. With former political rivals and revered resistance parties FRETELIN and CNRT locked in a consensus of convenience, it remains to be seen how the coalition government will pan out, with much depending on the ability of newcomer party, Partido Libertasaun Popular (PLP), to make any inroads in challenging the popularity of the two stalwarts.
Former East Timorese independence fighter Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres was on track on Tuesday to win the presidency in one round, based on early vote counting a day after Asia’s youngest nation went to the polls. Guterres, with nearly 60 percent of the vote so far, held a solid lead over his seven rivals in the tiny nation’s fourth election since independence from Indonesia in 2002. The national secretariat for technical and electoral administration had counted just over 30 percent of votes by Tuesday morning. A candidate needs more than 50 percent to win in one round. “I believe there won’t be a second round,” Guterres, who is backed by one of East Timor’s main political parties Fretilin, said after early results were counted.
A former anti-Indonesian guerrilla fighter is leading a slow vote count in East Timor’s presidential election, the country’s first without help of the United Nations. Backed by Fretilin, the party that led the revolutionary struggle to the country’s independence, Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres was leading with 59.24 per cent of votes. But only 34.34 per cent of votes had been counted by early Tuesday, reflecting huge logistical problems in the largely mountainous country with a poor road network. In previous elections, UN helicopters were used to ferry ballot boxes from the most remote polling stations.
East Timor: Long queues as East Timorese choose to have a say in future of Asia’s newest democracy | Sydney Morning Herald
They rode ponies, steered boats and walked for kilometres along cloud-shrouded mountain paths to vote in East Timor’s presidential election on Monday. The vote will be a key to the future of Asia’s newest democracy amid concerns the half-island nation’s oil and gas revenues are rapidly running dry. “I’m really happy … most of the eight candidates are good men who could help my country,” said Mateus Lucas, a 49-year-old father of three, who voted at a school in Dili. “I voted amid fear in 1999 but now I am free to vote for whoever I like,” he said, referring to a violence-hit United Nations referendum where Timorese voted to break away from Indonesia. The election is the first that East Timor has organised without the help from the UN.
Timor-Leste’s electoral commission is giving some Timorese Australians the chance to vote in the country’s upcoming elections for the first time since independence. Citizens living in Darwin and Sydney will be part of the trial, which allows them to vote without flying back to Timor-Leste. In 1975, Darwin resident Dulcie Munn fled Timor-Leste and has not voted since the country’s independence referendum in August 1999. “That’s 18 years ago,” she said. “To be able to participate again this time, casting our vote for the future of our nation Timor-Leste, is quite important.”
East Timor voted on Saturday in a parliamentary election in which Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s party faces a stiff challenge from two opponents as it seeks to extend its term at the helm of Asia’s newest and one of its poorest nations. Gusmao told reporters he was confident his National Council of Timorese Resistance party (CNRT) would win 44 of 65 parliamentary seats on its platform of seeking foreign loans for infrastructure projects and expanding the amount of an oil fund used for the state budget beyond its current limit of 3 percent. Gusmao, a guerrilla leader in the fight to end Indonesian rule, became the first president after independence in 2002. The main opposition Fretilin party, also a key player in the fight to secure independence, opposes foreign loans and wants to maintain the percentage of the $10.5 billion petroleum fund used for the budget at current levels.