Norway supports female voters, young voters and first-time voters

Nov 29, 2011

imageA woman holds up her electoral card as she waits to vote in Parliamentary elections. Photo Sandra Magno/UNDP TL.

Dili – A US$650,000 grant from Norway to UNDP, UNWomen and UNICEF will be used for programmes focusing on women’s political empowerment, enhancing youth and first-time voter participation, and promoting democratic principles through Timor-Leste’s electoral bodies.

The Norwegian support will make an important contribution to UNDP’s electoral assistance programme, in the lead-up to the 2012 Presidential and parliamentary elections.

UNDP’s electoral assistance programme applies a cyclical approach covering pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral periods. It provides support through experts, advice and mentoring to the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

This includes assistance in the development of the electoral legal framework, voter registration process, voter and civic education campaigns, electoral planning and operations and support to political parties.

Assistance to UN Women will strengthen the participation of women voters and women candidates.

It will deliver training and awareness-raising for men and women on gender equality and women’s empowerment for leadership, participation in politics and decision-making.

This is important in light of recently revised electoral laws, which now call for one in three candidates in every party list to be female.

A youth and first-time voter initiative supported by Norway and led by UNICEF and local partners aims to enhance the levels of participation by young, first-time voters in the 2012 elections. The programme will improve their access to election information, using existing structures to positively mobilize youth and advocate for non-violent dialogue to promote peaceful elections.