New York

09 April 2007

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on elections in Timor-Leste

The Secretary-General congratulates the many Timorese who showed their commitment to democracy and peace by participating in today's vote -- the country's first Presidential elections since independence in 2002.

The Secretary-General commends the national authorities, particularly the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration and the National Electoral Commission, for organizing the polling -- the first time the people of Timor-Leste have had the opportunity to administer their own elections at the national level. He also expresses his appreciation for the work done by the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in support of the Timorese efforts.

The Secretary-General is heartened that the election was conducted in a general atmosphere of order and calm, and that the initial indications show high voter turn-out. He hopes that calm will prevail while the counting proceeds and when results are announced.

The Secretary-General considers the 2007 electoral process to be an important step on the path to peace and stability in Timor-Leste, and hopes that the subsequent steps in the process -- including the legislative elections -- take place in an equally peaceful atmosphere.

The Secretary-General calls on the international community to continue providing assistance as Timor-Leste works to complete this year's electoral process and to address challenges related to the security sector, the rule of law, governance and development.