sábado, 11 de março de 2017

Timorese Australians given chance to vote in Timor-Leste elections

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Timor-Leste's electoral commission is giving some Timorese Australians the chance to vote in the country's upcoming elections for the first time since independence.

Citizens living in Darwin and Sydney will be part of the trial, which allows them to vote without flying back to Timor-Leste.

In 1975, Darwin resident Dulcie Munn fled Timor-Leste and has not voted since the country's independence referendum in August 1999.

"That's 18 years ago," she said.

"To be able to participate again this time, casting our vote for the future of our nation Timor-Leste, is quite important."

Ms Munn said the voting trial should be expanded to other Australian jurisdictions.

"A lot of Timorese in Melbourne, Queensland and Western Australia are quite sad and actually a little bit upset that they can't take part in the voting," she said.
       
National Electoral Commission of Timor-Leste president Alcino de Araujo Baris has been in Australia this week meeting with community members and explaining the registration process.

"The election systems in Timor-Leste and Australia are very different," he said.

Trial could be expanded

The country's presidential election will be held on March 20, with a potential second round of voting in April, before the parliamentary election in July.

If the Australian voting trial is successful, Timor-Leste consul general in the Northern Territory Francisco Jose Filipe said it would be expanded for future elections.

"It will be a nightmare to gather everyone together from state to state and financially it's going to be a huge thing," he said.

"But we cannot deny the Timorese the right to vote for the president or the government they want to see in the country."

He estimated there were more than 30,000 Timorese in Australia eligible to vote and said so far about 800 people had registered in Darwin and Sydney.

Voting is not compulsory in Timor-Leste and the country allows multiple citizenships.

"This is the first time that Timorese stand on his own feet and organise this election," he said.

"I think the national commission for the election should be complimented on that."

Ms Munn said she would be voting for a presidential candidate that demonstrated honesty, commitment and respect for Timorese people and the country's history.

"Being Timorese, living abroad and looking from outside, it's quite sad, because we all fought — the diplomatic and armed and underground forces — together."

"To see corruption coming in at this stage, it's quite disappointing."

International observers, including from the European Union, Portuguese-speaking countries and Australia, have been invited to watch and analyse the election process in Timor-Leste.

Mr Jose Filipe said the Northern Territory Electoral Commission had also offered to assist with the Australian trial.

"We had meetings with the electoral commission here in Australia, they're going to support us on the day," he said.



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Author: verified_user

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