East Timor: safeguards in place for presidential vote, top UN electoral official says

East Timor: safeguards in place for presidential vote, top UN electoral official says

In a bid to reassure voters and political parties ahead of East Timor's first-ever presidential elections on Sunday, the United Nations top electoral official in the territory today said that ample safeguards have been put in place to ensure that international standards are met.

Addressing the concerns of several political party representatives over the transparency of the vote, Carlos Valenzuela, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), stressed that the IEC's international and East Timorese staff would remain professional and impartial and that Sunday's ballot would be free and fair.

In a sign of the major interest in the 14 April elections, more than 2,000 East Timorese and international observers have been registered.

Meanwhile, UN police today said that more than 2,600 international and East Timorese police officers would be working around the clock, with UN peacekeepers also available to assist. Both security forces said there have been no signs of election-related unrest, and that no disruptions of the voting process were foreseen.