The one official external observer mission to the 1999 Popular Consultation in East Timor was led by the Carter Center. According to their own accounts, the center’s involvement in East Timor began in June 1999. When Former American President Jimmy Carter, leading an international observer mission for Indonesia’s parliamentary elections, met with East Timorese leader José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmao, then under house arrest, he received request for international observers tomonitor East Timor’s ballot. The request was discussed with Indonesian President Habibie, which supported the initiative, and the mission received official U.N. approval soon thereafter.
The Carter Center opened an office in East Timor’s capital of Dili on July 4. From then until the aftermath of the ballot, the mission crafted weekly reports and a final assessment of the vote. The purpose of the Center’s work was to help ensure that the public consultation process was conducted fairly and transparently. They gracefully shared their reports with PCETIC. In this section, we present their findings.