UNDP-Timo-Leste to lauch the new COVID-Resilient Election in Timor-Leste

UNDP-Timo-Leste to lauch the new COVID-Resilient Election in Timor-Leste

DILI, 19 april 2021(TATOLI)- The United Nations Development Programs (UNDP)today signed the Project Document with the Government of Timor-Leste to launch the new “COVID-Resilient Elections in Timor-Leste” to support the Government to carry out COVID-resilient and inclusive elections at both the national and municipal level.

Following the document from the UNDP, the project is funded by a $4 million grant from the Government of Japan with $300,000 in government co-funding for indelible ink and voter education programs.

It is also stated that, from a population of 1.3 million Timor-Leste has 829,236 (63%) eligible voters. With in-person voting procedures and same day counting, elections pose a Covid-19 threat by encouraging mass gatherings. Thus, the CORE-TL project will ensure all 12 municipalities and RAEOA have Covid-19 resilient voting infrastructure, which is also inclusive, and environmentally friendly.

The $4.3 million project will also address issues of long-term resilience to the pandemic threat; providing innovative electoral and COVID-19 awareness communication and assisting Electoral Management Bodies in developing the necessary prevention and response plans.

With a strong focus on inclusion, the project will strengthen the participation and representation of youth, women, and persons with disabilities in politics, not just as voters, but also as staff and candidates.

It will also contain significant capacity building of electoral management staff, journalists, and media to ensure access to accurate information on elections and Covid-19.

“COVID-19 has created a new normal that requires strengthened partnerships and innovative thinking about integrating pandemic resilience in democratic process and infrastructure,” UNDP Timor-Leste Resident Representative, Ms Munkhtuya Altangerel, said in a statement.

UNDP will implement the project in collaboration with other UN agencies, development partners, civil society, and academia.

The Charge d’Affaires of Japan Embassy in Dili, Mr Hirashima Shusaku said Japan has been supporting Timor-Leste’s democracy for 20 years since 2001 when the Constituent Assembly Elections took place.

“We hope this project to be carried out in partnership with UNDP will also contribute to the Timorese democratic process even under the difficult situation with COVID-19.” Mr. Hirashima Shusaku said.

At the same time Minister of State Administration, Miguel Pereira de Carvalho said COVID-19 causes the appearance of unprecedented but definitely indispensable things; one of them refers to CORE-TL.

“Its introduction is pertinent to strengthen the democracy of Timor-Leste. Even in an epidemiological situation, democracy must always remain healthy” Mr Carvalho said.

In spite, Timor-Leste has begun preparing for its next presidential and parliamentary elections in 2022 and 2023.

Although Timor-Leste has largely escaped the spread of the pandemic, sporadic outbreaks in early 2021 have shown the need for extra efforts to maintain public safety whilst carrying out the regular functions of a representative democracy.

Both presidential and parliamentary elections have seen administration and management processes improve through the government strong commitment to electoral transparency and professionalism.

This success led the Economist Intelligence Unit to rate Timor-Leste as South East Asia’s number one democracy in 2016.



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