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Published:June 28th, 2007 08:51 EST
Election Observation Teams to monitor in all 13 Districts for East Timorese election

Election Observation Teams to monitor in all 13 Districts for East Timorese election

By SOP newswire

The International Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET) has begun deployment of teams to all 13 districts of Timor-Leste ahead of Saturday’s Parliamentary elections. A total of 49 accredited observers from 9 countries including Timor-Leste will monitor the final days of campaigning and carry out crucial independent observation at polling stations on election day.
 
The teams consist of fully trained international observers as well as national observers drawn from seven co-operating groups within Timor Leste.
 
“This is an important step in the electoral process” said Jill Sternberg, co-ordinator of SOMET. “Our teams will be on the ground in all districts to contribute to the goal of this Parliamentary election being as free and fair as possible.”
 
On Saturday June 23, SOMET was the only independent international observer group to witness the delivery and transfer of 650 000 ballot papers as they arrived at Nicolas Lobauto Airport.
 
SOMET observers also played an integral role in observing both rounds of the presidential elections earlier this year. Their reports identified key areas in the electoral process where improvements were needed and copies of the documents have been provided to electoral officials and to the leaders of the 14 parties contesting the Parliamentary election. The reports from both rounds are available in English and Tetun and can be found online at http://etan.org/somet.htm.
 
SOMET is a grassroots project of the U.S.-based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), Free East Timor Foundation (VOT ) in the Netherlands, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)  and Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition ( APSOC) in the Philippines and the World Forum for Democratization in Asia  (WFDA).

SOMET was formed at the invitation of civil society organizations in Timor-Leste to support an election process which is transparent, free and fair. SOMET has partnered with nonpartisan East Timorese and other international observers, reporting on the election process -- paying special attention to civic education, vote casting and counting, and reactions to the results. In Timor-Leste, SOMET cooperates with HAK Association, Timor-Leste NGO Forum, La’o Hamutuk, FOKUPERS, KSI and Bibi Bulak.

Contacts:      Dili: Jill Sternberg or Catharina Maria +670-331-3324 or +670-734-2535 or +670-734-2397 email: somet@etan.org
                  Bronwen Thomas (Media Liaison) +670 734 9979

International: John M. Miller, +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391; etan@igc.org