UN gears up for Timorese elections with security measures to ensure peace

UN gears up for Timorese elections with security measures to ensure peace

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On the eve of the second round of presidential elections in Timor-Leste, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the small country is shoring up security measures with the expectation that the polls will be peaceful.

On the eve of the second round of presidential elections in Timor-Leste, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the small country is shoring up security measures with the expectation that the polls will be peaceful.

UN police officers (UNPOL), which worked with the National Police of Timor-Leste to provide security during the campaigning, “will continue to provide a strong presence at polling stations tomorrow,” the UN Mission (UNMIT) said in a news release.

A strong security presence will also be provided across Timor-Leste during the counting and tabulation of votes.

So far, the campaigning period for this second round “has been free of any serious incidents of violence and intimidation,” UNMIT said.

The mission's Deputy Special Representative in charge of security, Eric Tan, said lessons learned from the first round formed the basis for strengthening security for tomorrow's election.

“UNPOL, through its National Investigation Department, will place teams in key locations to ensure prompt investigations into any allegations of irregularities, especially intimidation, during the elections,” Mr Tan said. “This is a new addition to the security plan.”

In addition to this measure addressing intimidation, UNPol and the National Police will have a presence at every polling centre with mobile patrols stationed in each district. Formed Police Units (FPUs) will be on standby to quell any security incidents that may arise.

UNMIT is mandated by the Security Council to “support Timor-Leste in all aspects of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary electoral process, including through technical and logistical support, electoral policy advice and verification or other means.”

The mission said it is “confident that the second round for the presidential election to be held tomorrow will be peaceful.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a video message to the Timorese people, urged them to participate in the democratic process. “I call upon both candidates and their supporters to react to the results in a peaceful manner, and to raise any concerns they may have about the process through the appropriate legal channels,” he said, pledging the UN’s continued assistance.