Preliminary Election Observation Report on the Timor-Leste Parliamentary Election that was held on Sunday 21st May 2023
Following the g7+ (group of Seven Plus) observation of elections in Timor-Leste (2017, 2022) and Sierra Leone (2018), the group institutionalized the election observation initiative as part of its peer learning and ‘Fragile to Fragile’ cooperation program on 22 March, 2023 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The g7+, as an Inter-Governmental organization of conflict affected countries that helps achieving Peace, and stability through peer learning, is already contributing to good governance, peace, development and democratic space in member countries; for instance, Timor–Leste cooperation in Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.
The key objectives of this initiative amongst others include:
- Sharing of experiences in managing elections;
- Contributing to enhancing democratic consolidation, strengthening peace and development through election observation amongst g7+ members;
- Enhancing to improve Election Management Bodies (EMB) operations through its election observation recommendations
The g7+ Election Observation Mission (EOM) comprising of 15 members (4 internationals and 11 nationals) accredited by STAE observed the Parliamentary Election of Timor-Leste held on 21st May 2023. The EOM took place during 15 – 27 May 2023.
The g7+ EOM observed pre polling activities: parliamentary debates by political parties and political party campaigns; polling day activities from a stand point of impartiality, independence, professionalism and objectivity which are in tandem with international best practices of election observation the world over.
It is also important to underscore that the g7+ EOM observed the parliamentary election within the confines of the electoral legal stipulation of Timor-Leste in reference to “Government Decree No. 17/202017 of 12th May 2017 (Regulations for the oversight, observation and media coverage activities for the election of Deputies to the National Parliament) which spells out the rights and observations of observers in detail”
Prior to polling, the g7+ EOM also had consultative engagements with the Election Management Bodies (STAE and CNE) of Timor-Leste in a bid to foster clarity and understanding on certain election procedures and to have a comprehensive knowledge on general preparations and effective collaboration of relevant stakeholders in the electoral process. Furthermore, the g7+ EOM participated in an international workshop organized by the CNE to share experiences from CPLP and ASEAN countries
The composition of the g7+ EOM on polling day was made up of 5 teams of 3 members each observing a total of 83 polling centres in 3 municipalities (Dili, Manatuto and Liquica). The methodology adopted for polling day observation was a checklist enabling the teams to observe opening, polling, closure and counting procedures and the general political environment at polling stations.