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CEPPS in Timor-Leste

Since 2016, CEPPS has been working in Timor-Leste to promote free, fair, credible, and peaceful national elections and to strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Parliament (NP) and political parties. CEPPS continues to build on the progress already made in Timor-Leste's democratic development by elevating marginalized voices so the Timorese government can effectively represent its diverse communities.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS works with the National Electoral Commission (CNE), the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE), political parties, civil society organizations (CSO) and the NP to foster inclusive participation in the electoral process, strengthen the capacity of the NP to undertake its constitutional roles and strengthen the capacity of political parties to effectively engage with constituents.

CEPPS Approach:

CEPPS partnered with the CNE and local creative talent, non-governmental organizations (NGO), as well as radio and television stations to research, develop and disseminate effective, inclusive and conflict sensitive civic education messaging to enhance citizens’ information on and knowledge of the electoral process.

CEPPS uses national public opinion polling to provide registered political parties with data-driven information on priority issues for citizens.  These key concerns are used as a launching point for developing platforms and crafting messages to explain policies to local communities. Additionally, CEPPS conducts individual and small-group workshops with all parties, designed to bolster their capacity to integrate polling data throughout their long- and short-term planning and campaign strategies, as well as build in-house research capabilities.

CEPPS strengthens the NP’s ability to carry out legislative, representative and political decision-making roles through workshops and seminars; municipal level town halls with local government officials, municipal party members and ordinary citizens; and specific issue roundtable discussions with CSOs.

CEPPS Key Achievements in Timor-Leste:

CEPPS strengthens the capacity of electoral bodies to foster inclusive participation in the electoral process:

  • CEPPS’ support and technical assistance to STAE and CNE, including on staff training materials and workshops, election logistics planning and voter education, provided a solid basis for their preparations ahead the 2017 parliamentary elections and 2018 snap parliamentary elections. CEPPS supported the CNE in the development and implementation of significantly improved debates among candidates and parties for the parliamentary and presidential elections. These debates were very positively received by Timorese stakeholders and the public and fostered a campaign environment focused on issues rather than personalities.
  • CEPPS and its local partner, the Church Observatory for Social Affairs (CET-OIPAS), conducted trainings for domestic election observers in all 13 municipalities and organized a workshop to expand understanding of gender and election observation, as well as violence against women in elections, ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections and 2018 snap parliamentary elections. CET-OIPAS and CEPPS election observers reported that Timor-Leste’s electoral management bodies managed a generally smooth electoral process in 2017 and 2018 that met international standards for free and fair elections.

CEPPS strengthens the institutional capacity of the NP and political parties’ capacity to engage with constituents:

  • CEPPS’ Campaign Management Schools and Candidate Training Academies increased participants’ capacity to develop and implement citizen-responsive campaign strategies and to increase voter turnout, prior to the 2018 snap parliamentary elections.
  • Throughout Timor-Leste, CEPPS has partnered with the Timor-Leste Youth Parliament Association (APFTL) to conduct town hall meetings between Members of Parliament (MP) and local citizens. CEPPS’s town hall programming provides an opportunity for MPs, CSOs, local government officials and ordinary citizens to discuss local issues and raise concerns to national-level elected representatives. To date, CEPPS has conducted town halls in all 13 municipalities attended by more than 1,140 citizens.
  • CEPPS supports increased engagement between parliamentarians and civil society to promote CSO oversight of parliament through issue-specific CSO and MP roundtable discussions. The discussions increase transparency, raise awareness of political parties’ efforts to meet campaign promises, and build and incubate constructive linkages between MPs and CSOs that contribute to data and issue-oriented policy development in the NP.
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