East Timor Assembly passes preamble to constitution on eve of document’s approval

East Timor Assembly passes preamble to constitution on eve of document’s approval

East Timor’s Constituent Assembly today passed the preamble to the territory’s constitution, paving the way for the final passage and signing of the 170-article document after a six-month process, the United Nations Transitional Administration (UNTAET) said today.

Sixty-three Assembly members voted in favour of the introduction, 11 against, and 8 abstained. The preamble is a synthesis of five different versions presented by political parties to the Assembly’s Systemization and Harmonization Committee.

The members are expected to approve the constitution – which has already been debated and endorsed article-by-article – at a nominal roll call tomorrow morning.

The constitution will then be signed by each of the members tomorrow afternoon at a ceremony attended by UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello, senior Government officials, and members of the diplomatic corps and civil society.