A day ahead of the deadline for challenging and confirming voter eligibility, more than 173,000 East Timorese have already inspected the voter list for next month's elections, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) announced today.
The preliminary voter lists were posted on 16 July in each of East Timor's 65 sub districts. They provide an opportunity for eligible voters to correct any data omissions or errors, and to learn of the location of their polling station for the 30 August elections.
More than 19,000 eligible voters have thus far requested claim forms to amend the data on the list. In a statement released last week the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had warned of the possibility that, due to computer problems following the civil registration process, there might be cases in which people have registered but did not appear on the voter list. The IEC re-emphasised the critical importance of the current exhibition period.
In related news, the IEC yesterday presented representatives of political parties and independent candidates with a copy of the national ballot paper. Those present at the weekly meeting also received information on how to accredit their agents to monitor the electoral process.
Constituent Assembly elections will take place on 30 August. The East Timorese will elect an assembly that will be composed of 88 members, 13 representing each of East Timor's districts, and the remaining 75 based on a nationwide proportional representation list.
Meanwhile at UN Headquarters in New York, members of the Security Council attended a meeting to hear from a number of experts about developments in East Timor.
The informal meeting was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Singapore and conducted under the "Arria formula," in which a member of the Council invites individuals not associated with any government or who would otherwise not have the chance to address the Council to brief the 15-member body on a variety of issues.
The speakers expected to address the meeting included David Malone of the International Peace Academy; Nancy Soderberg of the International Crisis Group; Sidney Jones of Human Rights Watch/Asia; and Shep Forman of New York University's Center on International Cooperation.