In the western world, one forgets that the whole electioneering process is one huge commercial/PR exercise. The mission is to get your vote and who cares if you don’t give it much thought. On election night, it is the TV networks who seem to control the flow of events. There is an expectation of candidates claiming victory or conceding defeat doing so after the commercial break. It just wouldn’t do to ruin the ebb and flow of tension during the count.
In Dili, there is no such dominance by the TV networks. As elections go, the post voting events have been terrible for media groups searching for a story. The vote count has been slow and apparently flawed, but no-one has been found with a smoking gun (eg seen on film tampering with ballot boxes) and we just wait. Press conferences by the election commission (CNE) come and go without much new information to add.
Even the CNE press spokesman Father Martinho has taken a step back after making controversial statements at his press conferences. The small amount of tension just waiting for another PR gaffe from the Father has been removed. Maybe the Father forgot he wasn’t preaching to his flock on Sunday morning. But let’s not forget that this guy did his press conferences in 4 languages one after the other – Tetum, Portuguese, Indonesian and English.
Over the last couple of days, I have heard (on Radio OZ) John Howard and Kevin Rudd slug it out in attempts to dump the most excrement on each other. If they think I am impressed, I am not.
So in the end, I tend to prefer the Timorese way. Keep it low-key, keep it simple, keep it non-commercial. But lets get the vote count correct, shall we ?