POLITICS

Realization of Presidential Election in Australia depends on Court of Appeal’s decision

Realization of Presidential Election in Australia depends on Court of Appeal’s decision

the Court of Appeal. Tatoli's image//Francisco Sony

DILI, 08 march 2022 (TATOLI) – The Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and National Electoral Commission of Timor-Leste (CNE) have agreed to accept the decision of the Court of Appeal on the implementation of the presidential election for Timorese citizens residing in Australia.

“Today, both CNE and STAE, including the representative of the candidates, and some candidates to Timor-Leste upcoming presidential election have signed a joint statement, demanding all parties to accept the decision of the Court of Appeal to whether implement the presidential election for Timorese voters in Australia,” President of the National Electoral Commission of Timor-Leste, José Agostinho da Costa Belo told reporters after a meeting between CNE, STAE and the representative of candidates to Presidential Election, at the CNE’s meeting hall, in Dili, on tuesday.

He said if the Court of Appeal decided not to implement the election for Timorese citizens in Australia or vice versa, then all parties must respect the decision.

“If the Court of Appeal’s decision allows us to realize such an election in Australia, then we must proceed with the decision to facilitate Timorese citizens living there to exercise their democratic rights,” he said.

At the same place, the Director-General of the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE), Acilino Manuel Branco informed that STAE’s team had prepared to depart for Australia on march 14 to realize the election, but saying it would also respect the Court of Appeal’s decision.

“Today, we all agree to accept the Court of Appeal’s decision. If the decision allows the implementation of the election in Australia, then we will continue with all the preparation to realize the election,” Branco said.

During the meeting, both CNE and STAE argued with each other, presenting their reasons and defending their position.

The President of the National Electoral Commission of Timor-Leste, José Agostinho da Costa Belo, and other CNE’s Commissaries reiterated CNE’s position, saying without an update and compulsory voter registration, it was impossible to realize the presidential election for Timorese citizens in Australia.

Belo said that: “Therefore, CNE has taken its decision through a plenary meeting with all commissaries present and it would not reverse the decision.”

Article 65(2) of the National Constitution states that: “Registration of voters shall be compulsory and officially initiated, single and universal, to be updated for each election.”

Meanwhile, SATE also defended its position, saying people can still cast their vote without updating their voter registration.

According to article 47 of the National Constitution of Timor-Leste: 1) Every citizen over the age of seventeen has the right to vote and to be elected 2) The exercise of the right to vote is personal and constitutes a civic duty.

Three voting centers have been set up in Australia, including one in Darwin, one in Sydney, and another one in Melbourne.

As of february 18, STAE registered 7.113 Timorese voters residing overseas, including, 1.487 in Australia, 1.277 in South Korea, 2.229 in the United Kingdom, 1.264 in Northern Ireland, and 856 in Portugal.

Related news:STAE: “We will 100% implement presidential election for Timorese voters in Australia”

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo

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