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Registration of political parties begins in East Timor

Registration of political parties begins in East Timor

The registration of political parties and independent candidates for the upcoming election to East Timor's Constituent Assembly began on a positive note today, the United Nations Interim Administration in the territory said, citing electoral officials.

The UN mission, known by its acronym UNTAET, reported that Partido do Povo de Timor - People's Party of Timor - was the first party to submit a complete application. The other two parties making their submissions to the Independent Electoral Commission -- FRETILIN and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) - had left out some minor information, which they would have to present in the coming days, the mission said.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, the fact that these three parties had handed in their applications in accordance to the Electoral Commission's procedures in the first day of the registration period was "very encouraging" and "a sign that political parties are very serious about the electoral process." The registration process for the 30 August election ends on 24 June.

In New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released today that East Timor was making progress on the path to independence but cautioned that "a great deal remains to be done until that objective is reached and more will need to be accomplished thereafter to ensure that the new State can exist on its own."

In his interim report to the Security Council, Mr Annan said that since it was difficult to forecast political developments, he favoured "a prudent approach" that would safeguard the international community's considerable investment in East Timor's future. The Secretary-General will report to the Council again in July.