Fretilin denounces ‘acts of terror, intimidation’ on Timor election eve

Campaigning in the capital of Dili this week for the Timor-Leste general election today: Image: ABC

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Fretilin (Frente Revolucionaria do Timor-Leste Independente) has denounced acts of “intimidation and terror” carried out by some people in political parties against the members and sympathisers of the main independence political group in the sub-district of Laga, Baucau, on the eve of the elections being held today.

According to the information received by Fretilin, in the last few days some members of the new Popular Liberation Party (PLP) have been intimidating the communities in the villages of Atelari, Sagadate, Samalari, Nunira and Saelari.

Voters had been told that if they did not vote for certain political parties in today’s election, their houses would be ransacked and those who voted against PLP would be killed, Fretilin said in a statement.

“Fretilin calls on the authorities responsible for security; the PNTL and F-FDTL and request that they pay attention and provide security to the communities in these areas to allow the community exercising their democratic rights freely” said party deputy secretary-general José Reis in the statement before the election.

“Fretilin also calls on the electoral observers, national and international, to take notice of this situation.

‘Posing threats’
“Fretilin calls on the people of Laga and all over the country not to be intimidated for the state security authorities are prepared to deal with any attempts to destabilise and pose threats to peace in Timor-Leste,” Reis said.

The party encouraged community members to immediately relay any acts of intimidation and threat to the security forces.

Fretilin complained to the National Electoral Commission (CNE) about the issue.

Twenty-one parties are contesting 65 parliamentary seats in today’s election.

“In a population with a median age of just under 19 years and a voting age of 17, a fifth of Timor-Leste’s 750,000 registered voters will be participating for the first time,” writes analyst Professor Michael Leach.

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