Dili, July 6, 2012 — On July 4th, 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Timor-Leste and the Secretary for the Technical Administration of Elections (STAE), welcomed delegates to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Election Observation Mission (EOM) which is observing the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Delegates joined their colleagues from MoFA, CNE, STAE, the Office of the President, as well as Ambassadors from ARF countries at a welcome luncheon at the newly-opened Hotel Ramelau in Comoro, Dili. Mr. Marciano da Silva, Director General for Regional Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), welcomed the ARF delegation to Timor-Leste, commenting on the origins of the invitation from the Government of Timor-Leste to ARF countries back in 2011. In his remarks he thanked delegates from all participating countries for traveling to Timor-Leste to participate in the election monitoring initiatives.
Delegates and other guests were delighted by a surprise visit by the Director General of STAE, Sr. Tomas Cabral who, in his remarks, personally thanked delegates from ARF for their interest, and made particular reference to the importance of their observation visits to the districts to witness first-hand the voting procedures outside of Dili. He invited all the delegates to the STAE observer briefing and subsequent reception.
The twenty delegates of the ARF election observation mission currently represent the following eight countries: Republic of Korea, Cambodia, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, the United States, and Russia. Members of the observation mission include ARF Expert and Eminent Persons (EEPs), members of various parliaments as well as a number of senior-level election commissioners and officials from ARF members.
The ARF observer mission is co-funded by a number of ARF countries and is open to any member of the ARF. The mission’s program will run from July 3-10, supported by The Asia Foundation office in Dili.
The delegation observed the official handover ceremony of ballot papers at the Dili District Administration office this morning, and will be observing several polling stations in Dili and in a number of surrounding districts in the elections tomorrow.