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Few Surprises in East Timor Parliamentary Elections

65 seats. 18 parties. 647,814 voters.

These are some of the important numbers when East Timor conducted its parliamentary elections on July 7, 2012. This is the third election this year since the presidential race took place over two rounds on March 17 and April 16, 2012.

La'o Hamutuk provides the unofficial results of the elections and the number of seats that winning parties will receive:

According to preliminary complete results from STAE, here's how the 65 seats will be assigned in Timor-Leste's next Parliament, using a 3% Threshold and the D'Hondt method for seat allocation:

CNRT: 30
Fretilin: 25
Partido Democratico: 8
Frente-Mudanca: 2

If the final counting increases KHUNTO's vote by more than 200, they'll pass the threshold and get two seats, which will come from CNRT and Fretilin.

Timor-Leste's law says that parties getting less than 3% of the valid vote are not included in the seat allocation.

CNRT is the administration party while the main opposition is Fretilin. The Lost Boy reviews the results and their political implications:

Voter turnout was about 75% (74.78% to be exact based on above figures).

The parties Ramos-Horta campaigned for did worse in this election than the last one.

We're going to have five more years of a Gusmao-led coalition government, which means five years of big spending on infrastructure projects and suchlike.

The author also notes the lack of coverage from the international media

So there was an election in Timor-Leste today, not that you'd have noticed because it got very little attention in the international press.

This is the election that matters, the one that's going to define the next few years in Timor-Leste, but apparently three votes in the same year is enough to turn off most news outlets.

But despite a rather uninspiring effort by the international media, an election was held and people did vote.

Ballot boxes in East Timor. Photo from IRIglobal

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems monitored the presidential elections early this year and listed some of the irregularities which hopefully were already addressed prior to the parliamentary elections this weekend:

During the two rounds of presidential elections held in March and April 2012, irregularities arose. Some areas of the country experienced a shortage of ballot papers due to an underestimation of voter turnout. Additionally, poor weather spoiled some ballot papers and complicated logistical arrangements. There were also instances reported regarding the quality of indelible ink and voters using camera phones to photograph marked ballots.

Voters were also required to vote in the sucos (local areas) in which they registered, which led some voters to incur significant costs

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network worked with some international observers in monitoring the outcome of the elections

What are we expecting to see? What are we watching for? What are we hoping for?

Starting with the last question – we're hoping, above all, for “free, fair and transparent” – the watchwords of a democratic election process.

To observe how:

- Citizens rights to free and secure elections are guaranteed. The State has a duty to ensure elections run well.
- The entitlement to live in peace is safeguarded.
- The people or voters are free to exercise their rights.

Election observation is, above all, accompaniment. We watch. We take note. We report. We do not intervene. We hope that our presence will serve as a measure of protection (if it's needed) but, more importantly, as a quiet sign of solidarity.

The hashtags #eleisaun2012 and #timorelections were used to cover the elections. Here are some reactions:

@yatespj big stories out of #eleisaun2012 is demise of smaller parties – and also that PD didn't capitalise on this like CNRT & FRETILIN did.

@georgedarroch With Euro & #Eleisaun2012 campaigns over, it's going to be rather quiet. No more 6am fireworks, revving bikes, trucks of excited teens.

@ReesEdward confirm Xanana mixed with oil/gas money a more powerful political force than FRETILIN. Alkatiri's political career over?

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