Sunday, February 18, 2018
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The Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) was able to organise mobile election facilities at the National Hospital of Guido Valadares (HNGV) in Dili to allow patients and their families to vote.

Patients at the National Hospital HNGV were also able to vote in the Presidential Election 2017

Head of Quality Control, Social Communication and Legal at the HNGV Paulina Pinto said STAE organized mobile election facilities for patients because they are also entitled to vote during the Presidential Election 2017.

Some 280 patients and one relative registered and took part in the election.

Another 166 health personnel working at the national hospital but originally from other municipalities were also able use the mobile voting unit to take part in the election.

Voting at the HNGV started at 7am, with a STAE team and their supervisors taking one voting booth and two ballot boxes in and out of rooms to assist bedridden patients to vote.

However, some patients’ relatives expressed disappointment with the law that only permits one family member of a patient to vote at the hospital, while other relatives must vote as per the residential status listed on their voting card.

Fransciso Manuel Gusmao from Baucau said he was not able to vote and as that as a citizen he felt disappointed with the law.

“Family members take turns looking after patients, but the law only allows one family relative to vote. Our rights have been denied by the law. It is not that we chose not to vote,” he said at the HNGV in Bidau, Dili.

He urged leaders, especially members of the national parliament, when drafting laws to look at the reality and conditions of the country, particularly transportation issues.

“They should think about what the reality is and not just make laws arbitrarily,” he said.

Similar concerns were expressed by another relative of a patient from Covalima municipality, Ana Soares, who had to come to Dili to accompany a sick family member. 

“We urge you to discuss this issue and find a solution because we are from the municipalities, but we also want to vote,” she said.

In response to the issue, STAE legal supervisor Filomena Henrique said that the secretariat delivers the elections based on an existing law that permits only one family member of a patient to vote using the mobile voting facility.

“STAE is a body that delivers elections by obeying the regulations and the law approved by the leaders so we cannot break them,” she said.

She encouraged family members to raise their concerns with the National Election Commission (CNE) because they are responsible for handling the entire electoral process.

 

The Election for the new President of the Republic was held simultaneously across Timor-Leste on 20 March 2017.

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