Friday, February 23, 2018
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Budget delays are impeding preparations by the Secretariat for Technical and Electoral Administration (STAE) for the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for March 20.

Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo called for the process to be sped up so that STAE could be adequately prepared in time for the election.

In a surprise visit to STAE recently, Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo called for the process to be sped up so that STAE could be adequately prepared in time for the election.

However, he recognized that several technical issues had already been addressed, including voter registration both in Timor and overseas.

“We don’t have many problems, but there are some logistical issues which should be sped up like access to the budget, car maintenance and the purchase of [ballot] boxes,” he said after a visit to check on the progress of the STAE team in Kaikoli, Dili.

He said the government had an obligation to find a solution to the problems by providing adequate conditions for STAE to support the general election process.

In regards to the process, the Minister for the Coordination of Administration Affairs and Minister for State Administration, Dionisio Babo Soares, said the ministry was required to submit a budget proposal to the Prime Minister’s cabinet for approval before handing it to the Ministry of Finance for justification and budget allocation.

“That’s our system, but we have already submitted the proposal to the Prime Minister’s cabinet for approval,” he said.

Because of the budget delay, he said some direct adjustments to the tender process for companies would need to be made.

Voting will take place simultaneously on March 20 both inside the country and overseas, depending on the local time, with all votes to be counted in Timor.

“We have already allocated the funding to transport the special bag to collect the votes for counting in Timor,” he said.

He said the total budget allocated to the presidential and parliamentary elections is $10 million.

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