United States Continues to Support Free and Fair Elections in Timor-Leste

DILI – The United States Government, which has provided support for every democratic election in Timor-Leste since 2002, continues to promote the electoral process for the 2018 early election.  Assistance from the U.S. Mission in Timor-Leste – which includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State, and others – focuses on strengthening political parties and Timorese electoral management bodies, supporting elections observation, and promoting civic engagement and voter education activities.

“Free, fair and transparent elections help build trust between the Timorese people and their government,” said U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick.  “Our support helps move the country towards a self-sufficient future with strong democratic institutions and a healthy and prosperous population.”

USAID provided support for the International Republican Institute (IRI) to field 18 international observers during the upcoming elections.  The international observation team includes IRI board members and other IRI staff, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, and members of Australia’s Liberal Party.  The Catholic Church’s Observatorio da Igreja Para os Assuntos Sociais (OIPAS) received U.S. assistance to place at least one domestic observer at each of the 885 polling centers throughout the country on election day.  USAID also supports three IRI international long-term observer teams and 48 OIPAS domestic teams that monitor the electoral campaign environment.  Similar to the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2017, U.S. Mission personnel will also serve as election observers this year.

Prior to the elections, political parties and coalitions received U.S. support and training to develop issues-based campaign messages, and encourage women and youth participation.  After the elections, assistance from the U.S. Government will also help to strengthen the National Parliament’s human and institutional capacity, promote parliamentarian outreach, and provide technical support to the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus.