Washington, DC − IRI today announced its delegation which will observe Timor-Leste’s July 7 parliamentary elections. Representatives from Australia, Egypt, India, Spain, Uganda and the United States will travel to Timor-Leste to observe voting and ballot counting throughout the country. Following the elections, IRI will issue a statement on the preliminary findings of the delegation.
Timor-Leste’s parliamentary elections are the young country’s third parliamentary elections, and the second since independence was restored in 2002. Following a two-round presidential election that saw independent Taur Matan Ruak elected to the presidency in April, the people of Timor-Leste will return to the polls to elect a new parliament from the 21 parties and coalitions contesting the elections.
IRI’s delegation will be led by Frank G. Wisner, former U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, India and the Philippines.
Other delegates are:
- Perry Aritua, Executive Director of the Women’s Democracy Network’s Uganda Country Chapter;
- Victor Ashe, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, member of theBroadcasting Board of Governors;
- Ian Hanke, founder of Media & Political Counsel in Australia;
- Brian Keeter, Director of Public Affairs at Auburn University;
- Matt Leffingwell, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Kay Granger;
- Teresa Stringham, media and elections consultant and former long-term election observer with the Carter Center;
- Vani Tripathi, National Secretary of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party; and
- Marta González Vázquez, member of the Spanish Parliament and spokesperson for Partido Popular Group.
IRI staff led by Thomas Garrett, IRI’s Vice President for Programs, will also serve as observers and assist in the mission.
Upon arrival in Timor-Leste, delegates will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, nongovernmental organizations, political parties and representatives of the media. They will also be briefed on Timorese election law, and the rights and responsibilities of international observers. Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will observe polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Timor-Leste’s election system, including campaign regulations, election laws, voter verification techniques and reporting mechanisms.
IRI has already deployed three long-term observers for the parliamentary elections to monitor election related activities such as political campaigns, rallies and elections preparations and will add to IRI’s efforts on Election Day.
Additionally, IRI has partnered with Observatorio da Igreja Para Os Assuntos Socials (OIPAS), a Dili-based nongovernmental organization founded in 2007 to develop Timor-Leste’s internal capacity to observe domestic elections. As part of this effort, IRI will train up to 1,760 domestic observers and support OIPAS’ domestic observation mission, aiming to deploy two observers at every polling station in each of Timor-Leste’s 13 administrative districts. This follows a similar IRI-OIPAS program for the country’s 2012 presidential election, which successfully deployed more than 1,600 observers at polling stations throughout the country for both the first round and the run-off election.
Since 1983, IRI has monitored more than 150 elections in more than 46 countries.
Financial support for this effort comes from the United States Agency for International Development