Timor-Leste calm following peaceful parliamentary polls – UN

Timor-Leste calm following peaceful parliamentary polls – UN

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Security in Timor-Leste, which the United Nations helped to shepherd to independence in 2002, remains calm following last Saturday’s parliamentary elections, a spokesperson for the world body announced today.

Voters in the small South-East Asian nation went to the polls to elect 65 members of Parliament to serve five-year terms. Saturday’s polls follow the country’s presidential election, which led to the swearing in of President José Ramos-Horta in May.

Balloting was conducted in “a generally peaceful atmosphere” and the security situation remains calm with no major incidents reported, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said today in New York.

She added that the National Election Commission has announced that about 20 per cent of the total votes cast have been counted so far, and preliminary results are expected to be released later this week.

The head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Atul Khare, has previously stated that, with some 16 political parties in the fray, it appeared “practically unlikely” that any political party would get a clear majority, and predicted the possible need for a coalition government.

UNMIT, deployed following an outbreak of deadly violence last year, is helping with all aspects of the 2007 electoral processes, including technical and logistical support, electoral policy advice and verification.