An initiative of the Ministry of the Interior organized through the Directorate for the National Prevention of Community Conflict (DNPKK) saw collaboration between Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) part of the National Conflict Prevention Network (NKPN) and political parties during a seminar on June 7 2017. The theme of the seminar was Prevention of Electoral Conflict, and resulted in a signed agreement between all participating political parties, the National Election Commission (CNE), the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL), known as the National Unity Pact. The purpose of this agreement is to ensure stability and security during the campaigning period for the 2017 Parliamentary Election.
A few days after the signing of the National Unity Pact, the Timor Post reported on June 19 that the ‘Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT) was threatening to boycott the election, according to the Secretary General of the ASDT, Norberto Pinto’. The Timor Post also reported that ASDT supporters made similar declarations that ‘they would not participate in the election and vote for other parties”.
This is in breach of ASDT’s legal obligations, and the Court of Appeals has consequently prohibited the ASDT from participating in the Parliamentary Election on 22 July 2017. This is despite the ASDT pledging to contribute to stability and security under the National Unity Pact, which was signed by ASDT representative Feliciano Alves de Fatima.
Regarding this, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) believes this may have implications for the electoral process, as such declarations are against the interests of the State, as well as contravening the Law and Constitution. However, FM is not able to determine if this constitutes an electoral crime under Timorese law. Therefore, FM urges CNE and security actors to determine any legal ramifications for ASDT’s boycott of the 2017 Parliamentary Election.
FM urges the leaders of the ASDT to respect the decision of the Court of Appeals regarding its decision to prohibit the ASDT from participating in the Parliamentary Election, due to its declaration to support stable and secure elections under the National Unity Pact. FM also urges the leaders of ASDT to find other legal mechanisms to address their grievances, in accordance with the National Unity Pact.
Finally, FM calls upon all political parties currently campaigning to uphold their responsibilities and pledges to uphold stable and secure elections towards ensuring a safe, democratic and peaceful Parliamentary Election.