Since 2001, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has been a key partner in strengthening the development of Timor-Leste’s electoral sector. IFES election experts were posted in Timor-Leste to support the National Elections Commission (CNE) and Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) as they organized some of Timor-Leste’s earliest elections. For example, IFES provided the STAE with voter registration and information technology support for the 2004-2005 Suco (local) elections. In later election cycles, IFES provided support for the development of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms and the nation’s electoral legal framework.

Through the “Strengthening Inclusive Elections and Political Process” program supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, IFES, as part of the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening, worked to enhance the capacities of the election management and oversight bodies to develop and implement effective and inclusive voter and civic education strategies ahead of the 2017 elections. IFES assisted in developing a civic education campaign with CNE and local civil society partners to engage voters through social media and other innovative strategies prior to the elections. IFES also helped CNE to establish and manage an elections media center within the CNE headquarters. Staffed by CNE personnel working with an experienced media engagement adviser, the media center helped CNE organize press events and actively engage media as partners in disseminating voter information. IFES also worked with the STAE to enhance its capacity to conduct voter education through an inclusive process that targets the participation of rural and remote communities, women, youth and persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

For the 2018 early parliamentary elections, IFES is continuing its work with STAE and CNE to provide on-demand technical assistance on voter education, polling and counting, and media engagement. IFES is also furthering its collaborations with its local civil society partners to support a disability access monitoring mission and promote the engagement of young voters prior to Election Day.

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