Saturday, May 12, 2007

All peaceful after Horta wins East Timor Presidency.. well almost.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta has easily won the vote in East Timor's election after the counting of all ballots.
The election for president was the first since East Timor gained independence in 2002 after a bloody separation from neighbouring Indonesia three years earlier. Ramos-Horta will formally take office on May 20, succeeding former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao.
A National Election Commission spokeswoman has confirmed Ramos-Horta won 69 pct of the vote and his rival Francisco 'Lu-Olo' Guterres 31 pct.
The election was conducted peacefully.. well almost. Three men were today arrested for destroying the homes of Jose Ramos Horta's supporters.
Police say two houses were burned down and six others badly damaged in the villages in the Viqueque district, according to the local newspaper, Suara Timor Lorosae.
"Two houses owned by fishermen Elio and Hendrikus was burned on May 10," Inspector Jose de Carvalho is quoted as saying.. adding both were supporters of Ramos-Horta and that the arsonists were upset at the election result.


Michael Sweet said...

With Guterres seemingly gracious in defeat, saying he would "bow to the will of the people" and "do everything possible to support Ramos-Horta", is it really possible that divisions of the past can be healed? What factions will Horta find most difficult to bring round?

Mark Bowling said...

If we can see the world for a moment through the eyes of the fighting factions, then Horta would most likely be seen as representing the interests of those from the East. Why? Because his ancestral home is there - a town called Laga near Los Palos - and of course he is a founder of the original Fretilin movement which had its power base in the east. Counter to this are the interests in the West of the country - strongholds like Maliana close to the border with West Timor - which were once in the hands of militiamen loyal to Jakarta, and where sympathies (and anomosities) still run deep.
Personally I think that a Horta-Gusmao combination - President and PM - without Fretilin will be the strongest possible for East Timor's progress.