The centuries-old tradition of local rule by village chiefs in Portuguese Timor -- the island colony north of Australia -- began to be replaced recently when the people of the village of Chau Lutoro took part in the first democratic elections ever held on the island.
GV People walking towards polling place. (3 shots)
SV Interpreter holding up basket with handkerchief (2 shots) and new candidate.
SV & CU Interpreter holding up basket without hand-kerchief and reigning chief.
GV & SV Crowd looks on as interpreter holds up pebble demonstrating voting method. (3 shots)
SVs Men voting. (3 shots)
SV Women voting.
Initials VS 11.00 VS 11.10
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Background: The centuries-old tradition of local rule by village chiefs in Portuguese Timor -- the island colony north of Australia -- began to be replaced recently when the people of the village of Chau Lutoro took part in the first democratic elections ever held on the island.
This experiment in democracy is among the first steps of de-colonisation undertaken by Portuguese Timor's new-look Administration which took control following last year's coup in Portugal itself.
After 450 years of Portuguese occupation, there has been intense political manoeuvring on the island which is soon to gain its independence.
The first elections were held among the 40,000 villagers in the eastern corner of the island.
Fernando Sanches, a chief who had ruled by inheritance since 1959 was opposed by Filipi Dias Quintas of Portuguese Timor's most radical independence party, the Revolutionary Front for the Independence of Timor.
The villagers were briefed on the voting method through an interpreter by a representative of the ruling political cabinet from the capital, Dili.
Every villager over the age of 18 had the right to vote -- by dropping a pebble into one of two baskets for the two candidates.
Almost half of the village population voted, in this case, electing the Revolutionary Front candidate and rejecting their former chief.
Altogether 33 village chiefs were to be elected in the region as the old gives way to the new in Portuguese Timor.