NZ MPs to observe East Timor's elections
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 2:38p.m.
New Zealand MPs will be among official observers of East Timor's parliamentary elections this weekend.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully says five are going, meeting a request from East Timor.
They are Labour's Phil Goff, the Green's Kennedy Graham, NZ First's Barbara Stewart and Lindsay Tisch and Jacqui Dean, both National.
Mr Goff and Mr Tisch are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum observer team, the other three are independent observers.
The July 7 election will also have a team of EU observers and a team of six EU election analysts.
It is a decade since East Timor, with a population of 1.1 million, gained independence from Indonesia, and it has suffered periods of political turmoil since then.
There are 24 political parties contesting 65 seats under a proportional representation system, and only two have a chance of winning.
They are the Congresso Nacional de Reconstrucao, led by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, and the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor-Leste Independente, which has been in opposition for the last five years.
Neither is expected to gain an outright majority.
The observer teams will report on the fairness of the election and the integrity of the ballot process.
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