Number of Electoral Contestants is High But Their Political Will?

Dili, Timor-Leste—The number of 2012 electoral contestants is high, however their political will towards national concern on electoral corruption has yet to balance—that was the phenomenon during the join national conference organized by CAC-CNE last Saturday 25 February 2012 on “Transparency and Accountability towards Electoral Process: A Path to Distant from Electoral Corruption” at the Dili Conventional Center, Caicoli Dili. The electoral contestants shown lack of interest and did not make use of momentum provided. There were very few representatives of political parties and not a single presidential candidate marked their presence in the event.

Political parties representatives who participated in the seminar were President of the National Unity Party Fernanda Borges, representatives of the Opposition Party Fretilin, Social Democratic Party (PSD), National Unity of Timorese Resistance Party (UNDERTIM), National Development Party (PDN), Kmanek Haburas Unidade Nasional Timor-Oan Party (KHUNTO) and Liberta Povu-Aileba Party (PLPA). Other invitees included Second-Commander-in-Chief of the National Police of Timor-Lese (PNTL) Afonso de Jesus, representatives of United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and Civil Society Organizations.

The one-day seminar presented five speakers: Indonesian Constitutional Court Judge Hamdan Zoelva spoke about Indonesia’s experience on political corruption; Former Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission in Timor-Leste Michael Maley on challenges and opportunities in electoral process–particularly on electoral corruption that involves political parties and independent candidates; President of the Court of Appeal Claudio Ximenes on electoral laws from legal perspectives; CNE Commissioner Faustino Cardoso Gomes on appreciation and assessment on electoral budget; and  CAC Deputy Commissioner Manuel Bucar on the role of CAC in the electoral process and assets declarations.

Majority participants in the conference, especially representatives of political parties, welcomed the initiatives of the joint conference and considered the importance of having to establish an appropriate control mechanism to monitor government resources for the 2012 electoral purposes. During questions and answers session, participants raised various burning issues regarding challenges and opportunities related to electoral process and mechanisms to address electoral corruptions. Among the most discussed issues included mechanism for legal process if there is complaint about political corruption, mechanism for asset declaration, subsidy for electoral contestants and mechanism to present electoral account to CNE, and how to detect if there is any electoral crime.

This joint conference marked a first step of the CAC-CNE joint effort. In the near future, a similar initiative is expected to take place and involve political parties and presidential candidates who will compete in the 2012 elections.

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