Saturday, 6 August 2011

Democracy or Democrazy?

Dili-Tempo Semanal, 05/08/2011

Opini by Jose Belo, Chief Editor Tempo Semanal
We Timorese are now less that 10 months away from Presidential and General Elections but do we practise democracy or demcrazy?

Timor-Leste is truly a democracy.  One-person one vote.  We have had national votes in 1999, two in 2001 and two in 2007, and we have been mostly free of elections fraud or cheating.

But what are we missing.  We are missing good elections polling.  No organization does scientific or independent election polling, or for that matter good polling on any subject.

Why do we need polling?  We need polling so the Government can know what people really think about their program, performance and popularity.  We need polling so that the Opposition can know what people really think about their program, performance and popularity.  We need polling so that the world can know what the people really think.  We need polling so that the people can know what other people are thinking.

What is “polling” – polling is the scientific and impartial gathering of people’s ideas about matters of public policy.  To date we have no polling in the Timor-leste democracy – no polling.

Suara Timor Lorosae does polling for the Presidential campaign every day but it is not impartial, and it is not scientific.  It is in fact a form of propaganda.

Why does the international community not do election polling in Timor-Leste, are they afraid of the results?  Why does the business community not create a polling business? Are they afraid of the Government or Opposition parties?  Why does the media not do real polling? Lack of capacity, impartiality or financial resources?

The CNE, STAE, Asia Foundation, IRI, UNDP, USAID, AusAID, EU, Presidency, Government, talk a lot about democracy, but they do not do hardcore political polling. Democrazy?


Murak said...

Jose! you absolutely right! We need polling organization which has no political affiliation. Why our history has been no polling? I think we need to provoke the initiative and start election polling, so that we can have comment base on data than talk much but zero content. In the end, I would like to see there any initiatives from Universities in TL.

Anonymous said...

But if Asia Foundation or other international NGO does polling they will be accused of interfering (meddling) in Ti-Les politics - especially criticism from the political party that the polling says is less popular!

What is needed is for Fretilin and other opposition parties to publish on the internet a list of their policies and promises; not just say that AMP is no good.

For example, what specific promises will Fretilin make for reforming parliamentary procedures - to make the government more accountable to parliament?

It is an absolute joke that in Ti-Les the prime minister is not obligated by law to visit the parliament every week and answer questions from the opposition parties.

But Mari Alkatiri does not like to be questioned that way!!

Je said...

Manu Je, it is good that you start to draw attention on important issue such as polling...however the questions are:
1. Does TL relly have resources and equipment to do the polling????
2. Who should fund the polling organization???
3. How to garantee the data will be used by government or able to push for changes???? is the amount of money to be put into a polling organizations return the same benefit or more ?????
4. What about the media such as Tempo Semanal to initiate the polling organization????

Karlito Nunes said...

IRI conducted Public Opinions Poll in 2003, 2004 and 2008/9 for TL All the three poll conduct base on house hold random grid methodology with sample 15000 people in the territory (districts, sub districts, sucos and Aldeias). Why no scientific poll this year prior to elections? Well, I think some of the answers you raised already in the end of your article.
We are still in a tradition that, the decision maker are still not seeing poll as a tool for them to define their decision and TL society not familiar yet to use the result of the poll itself but they are still enjoying make decision based on common sense.

Anonymous said...

agreed with all of the comment above + i would like to add more by saying that even though if we have the resources to rung a polling system in east timor, it will not work because not every leaders wants to disclose their unpopularity and how they construct their policy to run the nation. plus all of this ideas are from the new and young generation who learn about the modern term of democracy where as the old dude who in charge at this stage knows or still is referring to their own definition of how their think of democracy is.....its sucks guys when dealing with so many infected human being....infected of ideas, infected of own interest etc