FM Meets With President Taur Matan Ruak

With just a few days to go before campaigning for the parliamentary elections begins, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) was invited by newly elected President H.E. Taur Matan Ruak to the Presidential Palace to share with him our security concerns for this momentous event.

FM recommended the President and the media play a significant role in explaining clearly to the public his role in the formation of government, notably in the case of no single party winning an absolute majority. To avoid a repeat of the confusion that surrounded the 2007 parliamentary elections, FM recommends that the President clearly outline what a coalition government is and what the constitution discloses in the event of such an outcome. This would be of great benefit because there still lies a growing sense of confusion among the general population on this matter and confusion can often lead to tension. Many political parties are already talking of outright victories, but the reality is that the likely outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections will give no absolute victory to any single political party.
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Additionally, FM brought up during our meeting with the President, the rather low number of PNTL officers available to secure the elections. With a total of 2200 officers at the PNTL’s disposal, it can be argued whether this number is sufficient enough or not.
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UNPOL will provide backup, but with calls for larger numbers of voting centres, our police force will be stretched significantly. This raises two points. The first one is uncontroversial and entails the need to geographically identify probable hotspots for violence so to strategically position PNTL officers. The second is rather more controversial and entails questioning what role, if any, should the F-FDTL have in securing the parliamentary elections.
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For this second point, we hope to gain comments from our readership to gauge a position on the matter from the public.

FM thanks President Taur Matan Ruak for giving us this opportunity to share our security concerns for the upcoming parliamentary elections and we appreciate his efforts at acquiring the views and opinions of civil society.

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