No tally room drama here

I’ll bet many of the international media are hitting the turps now after a frustrating day when Fretilin appeared to have called a press conference for earlier this morning and it didn’t happen.

It also must be pretty disappointing that the tally room (which I have now been brought up to speed on) is not an all singing and all dancing one like in Canberra or Washington. News reports suggest votes are still being counted but I would think all vote counts have been done (except in those areas which suffered from a shortage of voting papers). More likely to be long waits in the aggregation process which probably requires the ballot boxes (and vote counts) to be transported to Dili. On that basis, most should be in Dili by tomorrow and a pretty close approximation to the final outcome should be available by tomorrow night.

I know much of the foreign press has caught onto the Dili results which are pretty much complete. This shows Jose Ramos-Horta a clear leader and Fretilin getting a more modest tally. It could be that the Dili troubles of the last year have been translated into an anti-Fretilin vote in Dili.

But one shouldn’t get too excited because unlike my OZ birthplace, there is not a TV in every home and in fact, no functioning TV outside of the Dili area. No newspapers either, so the Dili news that does get to the more remote areas (and even LosPalos in the east) gets pretty watered down and even misunderstood. In this environment, it is pretty hard for candidates without huge party infrastructures to establish an identity with the voter. And I never saw any large scale use of election hand-outs – probably too costly for everyone.

On the other hand, it does mean that candidates from a more remote area may well completely dominate that area’s voting. I believe this is the case as I heard some of the apparently surprise results when compared to Dili voting patterns.

I am sure that tomorrow night’s vote count will give a pretty good picture of the final result.

By the way, if the only Timorese TV is in Dili and has no ads, there is no (financial) pressure to convert the modest tally room into a cabaret as we all know and somehow tolerate in the west. (Can-can dancing on at AAJs or Exotica, 1am, journos free.)

2 thoughts on “No tally room drama here

  1. What makes you think the international press are hitting the turps just because the day was frustrating?
    Trust me, they don’t need an excuse. Or rather, they do, but anything will do.

    from a de-stressing FOS

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Online » East Timor: Voting Patterns in East Timor Elections

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