Fundasaun Mahein, 28 March 2012
The Practice of Money Politics in the 2012 Presidential Election
Mahein’s Voice 32 is a debate on the practice of money politics in the recent 2012 presidential election. The practice of money politics in Timor-Leste began in 1975 when political parties began receiving support in money, weapons as well as other materials from foreign countries. These forms of support from foreign countries significantly influenced the political situations in Timor-Leste which eventually led to the internal conflict of civil war and the Indonesian military invasion of 7 December 1975.
In this article, FundasaunMahein (FM) questions some of the legal process undertaken by STAE which we consider violates the universal principal of suffrage. Also, FM in this article would like to highlight the issue of money politics that is prevalent during the campaign period of the first presidential election right up to polling day. Essentially, FM is of the view that this practice of money politics, during the first round of presidential election, is the direct consequence of having an electoral law that requires citizens to vote at a place where he or she is registered.
In the case of the recent presidential election the practice of money politics include the practice, by some political parties, of providing transport, free of charge, to students and some community members who wishes to return to their districts and participate in a voter registration at a referred party secretariat. Through this article,FM would also like to state that 21.80%, of the total 626,503 eligible voters, did not participate in the first round of the presidential election.
As such, the view of FM is that the practice of money politics will weaken the democratic process and will destroy some of the democratic principles, such as liberty and impartiality. In any case, the effect of the practice of money politics is that it will taint the image of political power.
As such, FM would like to recommend that:
1. CNE profoundly investigate some of the practices of money politics that were committed during the first round of the presidential election.
2. The government weigh the options between changing article 40 of the presidential election law and providing transport for citizens to travel to their respective Sucos to vote.
3. The government annul article 40 of the presidential election law.
4. The government create a law on money politics in order to regulate party or individual support in terms of money and materials.
5. In cases of national or foreign support by political parties or political persons that have political influence, CNE needs to supervise and investigate the origin of the support, as well as its type, and accordingly make a public announcement either through CNE or STAE.
6. The government create a strong law for CNE and STAE that allows them to apply penal sanctions.
For further information regarding this article please contact
Director of Fundasaun Mahein
Tlp +670 737 4222