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Home >> World
UPDATED: 19:45, April 11, 2007
Horta, Lu-Olo head to presidential runoff in Timor-Leste
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Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta and former guerrilla fighter from the biggest party of Fretelin Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo will contest in the second round of the presidential election in Timor-Leste on May 8, the country's electoral commission announced Wednesday.

The two leaders were on the top two of the counted ballot papers from all 13 districts of the new nation as Lu-Olo was in the first position with 28.79 percent of votes and followed by Horta with 22.60 percent, the spokesman of the commission, Martinho Gusmao, told a press conference.

"Horta and Lu-Olo will go to the second round," he said.

Both leaders have said that they would put stability and economy on top of their agenda if they win the election.

They have promised to heal the wound of the nation, which was heralded as a success in the nation-building since the half-island nation got independence in 2002 after 24 years ruled by Indonesia.

Since the beginning of the election process, many predicted that the statesman Horta who spearheaded an overseas campaign for his country's independence from Indonesia in 2002 was among the strongest nominee.

"We have surprised that Mr Frabciscus Guterres Lu-Olo came as the winner for the time being," said Gusmao.

The spokesman said that the third position was placed by Fernando Lasama de Araujo of the Democratic Party with 18.52 percent of votes, then Mr. Franciscus Xavier de Amaral with 12.82 percent of votes and the rest are less then 10 percent.

The spokesman said the number of the valid votes counted was only 357,766.

However, he declined to comment how many of the registered 522, 933 voters went to cast their votes to 705 polling stations on Monday's election.

He said that the commission would facilitate complaints and make some recount, but it would not significantly affect on the final result of the first round of the election.

"The possibility of change by the revision would not significantly affect the final result of the tabulation," said Gusmao.

On the complaints of the election, the spokesman said that the commission would facilitate such kind of disagreement and it would be processed by law.

"There is a process to appeal to the court, and the higher court would make a decision on that," he said.

Separately, five other candidates, including Fernando "La Sama" de Araujo held complaints, saying there were serious irregularities, including manipulation and intimidation, on the voting and counting processes.

They said that they would appeal to the court.

The Monday's election ran very peaceful, ruling out security fears.

Horta said that the people had shown their maturity.

But some still wary of the potential of new violence as long as the root of problems have not been yet fully addressed.

Eight presidential candidates are running for the presidency in the mainly Roman Catholic nation to replace the position of the incumbent President Xanana Gusmao.

Horta sought to trade his position to the President of the nation due to he will have got more chance to bring progress to his country.

Gusmao, a former guerrilla leader and an ally of Horta, is not running for re-election as president, but plans to seek the more powerful post of prime minister in separate parliamentary elections later this year.

Gusmao, who was elected in 2002 as Timor-Leste's first president, has formed a political party to contest parliamentary elections later this year.

The presidential post of the tiny nation is largely ceremonial in a parliamentary government but many hope the winner will bring unity of the nation beset by regional rivalry, rebellious security forces and disillusionment among citizens five years after the joyous celebrations of independence.

The spokesman Gusmao said that the new government is to be established on Sept. 11.

Source: Xinhua

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