Dili, Timor-Leste – IRI and Observatorio da Igreja Para Os Assuntos Socials (OIPAS) have partnered in a domestic election observation program for Timor-Leste’s July 7, 2012 parliamentary 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 program follows a similar IRI-OIPAS effort 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.
As with the presidential election, observers will be trained in Election Day electoral procedures, such as polling station set-up (including access for voters with disabilities), voting and ballot counting, and will be instructed to write incident reports documenting any irregularities they may witness. After the elections, OIPAS will compile the observer reports and submit a comprehensive report to the Technical Secretariat for Elections Administration.
Additionally, IRI has sent a delegation of international election observers and has deployed three long-term observers for the parliamentary elections. IRI’s international election observers will be deployed throughout the country on Election Day, where they will observe polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Timor-Leste’s electoral system. The Institute’s long-term observers are monitoring election related activities such as political campaigns, rallies and elections preparations and will add to IRI’s efforts on Election Day.
IRI was the first nongovernmental organization to work directly with civil society and political parties in Timor-Leste, and the only organization to do so continuously since 2000. IRI’s current initiative focuses on fostering meaningful and responsive representation by helping political parties to identify pressing citizen concerns and generate and communicate issue-based party platforms that respond to those concerns. IRI also works with civil society to promote accountability, transparency and credibility in the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections.
OIPAS is a Dili-based nongovernmental organization founded in 2007 to develop Timor-Leste’s internal capacity to observe domestic elections. OIPAS is a member of the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors. OIPAS partnered with IRI to observe the 2012 presidential first round and run-off elections in Timor-Leste. Additionally, as part of a wider coalition of non-governmental organizations, OIPAS successfully observed the 2009 suco elections in Timor-Leste.
Financial support for this effort comes from the United States Agency for International Development.