East Timor: UN mission chief praises populace for peaceful electoral campaign

East Timor: UN mission chief praises populace for peaceful electoral campaign

The head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today praised the territory's people for conducting a violence-free electoral campaign, and, echoing appeals from the UN Secretary-General and Security Council, urged everyone to exercise their right to vote.

"This [process] may not make headlines, but I'd rather have no headlines and a peaceful election," Sergio Vieira de Mello said, adding "the East Timorese people have given us a lesson in democracy, in maturity, and I applaud the people of East Timor."

Speaking at a press conference in Dili on the final day of the electoral campaign, the UNTAET chief reiterated that everyone must scrupulously respect the outcome of the elections.

He also said he hoped to announce the new, all-East Timorese Transitional Cabinet on 15 September, the same day the newly elected Constituent Assembly would be sworn in, and that he intended to appoint an East Timorese Chief Minister to take over the running of the day-to-day affairs of the government.

Mr. Vieira de Mello's press conference was held in a new Ministry of Education building that he noted was one of the many burnt to the ground following the 1999 Popular Consultation.

"Never forget what East Timor looked like when we arrived," he said. "Remember what the Timorese have done."