24 April 2010

Universities join forces for democracy in East Timor



Charles Darwin University - Making democracy more representative in East Timor will be a major focus of a Charles Darwin University and National University of Timor-Leste symposium in Dili next week.

The "Locating Democracy: Representation, Elections and Governance in Timor-Leste" symposium is being co-hosted by the universities and will allow a range of agencies to review the process of local government reform being undertaken in East Timor.

Symposium co-convenor, CDU Associate Professor Dennis Shoesmith said local government in East Timor was entering a new phase of development.

"Part of the reform program is the establishment of municipal assemblies, with the aim of making democracy more representative. The Northern Territory and Australia in general have a strong interest in a stable and prosperous East Timor," Dr Shoesmith said.

"The successful application of the local government reform program will provide greater stability in the country and facilitate economic development and opportunities for further development of the fruitful partnership with the Northern Territory."

Dr Shoesmith said the symposium was a timely opportunity to review the local government program as associated laws are about to be introduced to parliament.

"The symposium will, for the first time, bring all the stakeholders together to exchange ideas and views about government reform. It's also an opportunity for the East Timorese Government and Parliament to review the local government program," he said.

Symposium convenors have received sponsorship and support from Airnorth.

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