Ballot papers for upcoming elections arrive in East Timor, UN says

Ballot papers for upcoming elections arrive in East Timor, UN says

With less than two weeks remaining before East Timor's elections, ballot papers arrived in the territory under tight security, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) announced today.

UNTAET's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said the 603,250 ballots were being kept in secure storage locations until the 30 August elections in which voters will elect an 88-seat Constituent Assembly that will prepare East Timor's first constitution.

The ballots, which arrived on 17 August, had been printed in Darwin, Australia, on special security paper. According to the IEC, just before voters cast their vote, each individual ballot paper will be marked with a special seal in order to deter any attempts at fraud. The ballots are unnumbered but are attached to numbered stubs to ensure the speedy post-vote reconciliation of used and unused ballots.

The final voter roll stands at 409,019, but extra ballots were printed to cover a higher estimated voter population at each polling station. A number of voters may not have been included in the roll due to a database error.

Meanwhile, some 4,000 East Timorese attended civic education events that took place in four districts over the weekend. During the activities, which were carried out with support from UNTAET and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), participants received information about the upcoming elections and the relationship between government and citizens in a democracy.

Yesterday in Dili, 2,000 members of the Muslim community attended a day of dancing, music and theatre sketches about democracy and non-violence.

On Saturday in Baucau District, representatives of all 16 political parties answered questions about their party platforms from a crowd of over 800 while in the enclave of Oecussi, two football matches were interspersed with messages about democratic competition. And in Bobonaro, 750 spectators turned out to watch a half-marathon with a democracy theme in which 118 East Timorese and 18 international participants took part in a 22-kilometre event.