East Timor: UN mission distributes ballot kits for upcoming presidential election

East Timor: UN mission distributes ballot kits for upcoming presidential election

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today began sending ballot kits to districts throughout the territory in preparation for the 14 April presidential election.

The kits prepared by UNTAET's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) include ballot papers and other sensitive polling material such as ink, ballot stamps and forms to be used by the IEC officers. The ballot papers show the image and name of the two presidential candidates, Francisco Xavier do Amaral and Xanana Gusmão. The ballot kits will be kept secure until election day.

The IEC is setting up 282 polling centres with 933 polling stations throughout East Timor. It is estimated that each voting station will receive a maximum of 600 voters, although additional reserve ballots are being dispatched in case there are more voters than anticipated.

Seventy-two East Timorese and 35 international observer groups will participate in the presidential elections. These groups were accredited by the IEC during the official period of accreditation that ended on Saturday.

The number of East Timorese electoral observer groups has increased significantly compared to the total of 29 that registered to observe last year's Constituent Assembly elections. IEC officials said this suggested a significant increase of interest in the electoral process and a greater awareness of the important role that observers can play in the process of ensuring transparent and free elections.