Assessing the risk of violence in Timor-Leste's 2012 elections

People's Peacemaking Perspectives

A turbulent history and sporadic episodes of violence have left the population of Timor-Leste vulnerable to a risk of political violence around the 2012 election period. This research was carried out in the run-up to the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2012. Parliamentary elections will take place on 7 July 2012.

This is the third time the population will go to the polls in national elections since independence and whilst overall, political processes have been peaceful, the analysis has found that there are considerable unresolved issues and underlying drivers of conflict that increase the possibility of election violence.

Conducted between 13 October and 1 November 2011, this study brought together men and women in focus group discussions in four districts. Key informant interviews were also conducted with national and international security personnel, civil society actors, political leaders, local government officials, martial arts groups and Timorese political analysts.

The final section of the report provides detailed recommendations for policy and programming in four key areas:

  • Efforts to engage political actors and other key stakeholders in a constructive and positive role in the election process are needed to counter the dominance of divisive rhetoric in national politics, particularly during elections.
  • Initiatives that seek to raise public awareness of the electoral system and related laws and to address misinformation and rumour are crucial.
  • Engaging youth and members of MAGs in peaceful processes around the elections and wider democratic processes is vital in order to prevent them being drawn into and manipulated for political violence.
  • Longer-term interventions are required to support the implementation of the rule of law and develop community level conflict prevention and response mechanisms that are locally owned and led.

Click here to read the full report or the policy brief 

 Find out more about the EU funded People's Peacemaking Perspectives project

“Usually during the campaign period there is provocation between parties which can cause conflict, but the victims are always the people.”

Focus group discussion with men in Covalima district.