Constitutional hearings draw 30000 East Timorese UN mission says

The results of more than 200 constitutional public hearings held in East Timor’s 65 sub-districts will be submitted to the future Constituent Assembly for consideration during the writing of the constitution.”By any standard this is an amazing public participation that shows just how committed the East Timorese are to being involved in their own future,” Peter Galbraith, Cabinet Member for Political Affairs and Timor Sea, said today.Officials from the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) involved in organizing the public hearings said that in many cases the turnout exceeded expectations and demonstrated that people were anxious to be heard by the future 88-seat Constituent Assembly, which will be elected on 30 August.The country’s future political system, currency and flag were among the issues discussed at the hearings. Other topics included the type of punishment that should be applied to those responsible for serious crimes; the educational system; laws for foreign investors; how the revenue from the Timor Sea should be distributed; and the official language.Women’s groups were well represented at the hearings, with many calling for constitutional safeguards against domestic violence and a robust family law.Meanwhile, UNTAET’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) today conducted three lotteries to determine the make-up of the national ballot for the 30 August elections.The first lottery determined that the names of political party candidates will appear before the names of independent candidates; the second lottery determined each party’s position on the ballot, and the third determined the position of each of the independent candidates.The IEC has confirmed that there are 97 political party and 11 independent candidates for 13 district seats. Five independent candidates will run for national seats. The IEC will announce tomorrow the final list of political party national candidates.

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