United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was heartened that today’s presidential election in Timor-Leste had passed calmly, adding initial indications showed high voter turnout as he called on the international community to continue providing assistance to the tiny nation.
The poll was the first in the country since it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 and, as well as congratulating the Timorese for participating in the vote, Mr. Ban also commended the national authorities for organizing the election and the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) for its support.
“The Secretary-General is heartened that the election was conducted in a general atmosphere of order and calm, and that the initial indications show high voter turnout. He hopes that calm will prevail while the counting proceeds and when results are announced,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General calls on the international community to continue providing assistance as Timor-Leste works to complete this year’s electoral process and to address challenges related to the security sector, the rule of law, governance and development.”
Today’s poll is the first scheduled for 2007 – parliamentary elections are scheduled for later this year – and Mr. Ban said he hopes the others will also take place in an “equally peaceful atmosphere.”
Prior to the vote, the Secretary-General said in a video message that the “eyes of the world” were upon the Timorese, as he also pledged the UN’s continued commitment to helping the country develop.