Asia Foundation Releases Survey Results of Suku (Village) Chiefs’ Readiness for Upcoming Timor-Leste Elections

Dili, September 21, 2016 — The Asia Foundation today released the results of a snap poll of 227 elected village chiefs in Timor-Leste regarding their awareness and readiness for the upcoming suku (village) election scheduled to occur in October 2016. In light of the very close time frame prior to the planned elections, and in order to determine gaps and opportunities for advocacy and assistance, the Foundation conducted a poll of suku chiefs to determine their awareness and community preparedness for the event.

The short survey questionnaire comprised of 10 questions asked to respondents via telephone. Data captured during the poll indicate that 85 percent of suku chiefs had heard of the new suku law as promulgated by the president in July 2016. Similarly, 85 percent of suku chiefs were aware of the upcoming elections – and that they were to be held on 30 September (the date promulgated at the time that the survey took place).

Insofar as who was responsible for managing the elections, of the respondents aware of the upcoming elections only 50 percent were able to correctly identify that the community was responsible for managing the election. Half of all of these respondents either did not know (16 percent) who was responsible for managing the upcoming election, or thought that the government (28 percent), the UN (2 percent), or another institution (4 percent) was responsible.

Relating to concerns for the upcoming elections, more than one in four respondents (27 percent) replied with concerns about women and people with disabilities being able to freely vote. Nearly 12 percent of voters are concerned that voters may be influenced by others. Only 8 percent were concerned with voter fraud, and less than 5 percent listed concerns of violence as their main concern with the upcoming elections.

Utilizing trained enumerators from Matadalan Institute (MDI), a member organization of the Timor-Leste Research and Advocacy Network (TRAIN), the Foundation managed the poll from its offices in Dili, using tablet computers. All phone calls were made under close supervision by Foundation staff for quality control purposes. Published phone numbers of xefe suku (village chiefs) were randomized by Foundation staff and provided to enumerators. Only complete surveys were included in the analysis.

The quick survey of suku chiefs was conducted to provide policymakers, election officials, community leaders, and elections advocates with feedback from community leaders tasked with assisting in the upcoming local elections. The full survey results are available here.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

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Related locations: Timor-Leste
Related programs: Elections

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