Saturday, April 07, 2007

East Timor

News release e-mailed to the public account this week.

Media Release
Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET)

Independent International Election Monitors Gather in Dili

Dili: Catharina Maria/Jill Sternberg, (+670)
3313323; (+670) 734 2397;
New York: John M. Miller, (+1) 718-596-7668; (+1) 917-690-4391;

April 4, 2007 -- An international delegation of
election observers, has gathered this week in
Dili to monitor Timor-Leste's April 9
Presidential election. The Solidarity Observer
Mission for East Timor (SOMET), a coalition of
grassroots groups working to support new nation's
fragile democracy, will maintain a continuous
presence until the results of this month's
presidential contest and upcoming parliamentary election are

"SOMET supports a free, fair and peaceful
democratic process. We plan to stay in East Timor
until the last vote is counted and the results
are implemented," said Jill Sternberg, SOMET
Coordinator. "If we see shortcomings in the
process we will advocate with the appropriate
official bodies to correct them," she added.

Working cooperatively with nonpartisan East
Timorese organizations, SOMET will observe and
report on all aspects, positive and negative, of Timor-Leste's 2007

"We will act in an independent manner, not taking
the side of any party or candidate," said
Catharina Maria, SOMET Dili Coordinator. "All
SOMET observers are bound by a code of conduct
that stresses our non-partisanship and neutrality."

International solidarity groups organized the
non-partisan observer mission at the urging of
civil society organizations in Timor-Leste. Many
of the observers have long history with
Timor-Leste, election observation or both.
Several participated in the International
Federation for East Timor's Observer Project, the
largest the largest international observer
delegation for the 1999 independence referendum.

"Solidarity is not just for elections. Our
observers will return to their homes with a
deeper understanding of Timor-Leste and a
commitment to strengthening ongoing ties with the new nation," added

SOMET is a grassroots project of the U.S.-based
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN),
Stichting Vrij Oost Timor (VOT) of the
Netherlands, Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition
(APSOC), Global Partnership for the Prevention of
Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and World Forum for Democratization in Asia

If no candidate in Monday's presidential contest
gains more than 50% of the vote, a run off will
take place on May 9. Timor-Leste's current
president has said he will not announce the date
of the parliamentary election until a new
president has been selected. The parliamentary
election can not take place until 80 days after it is announced.

More information can be found online at see