Thursday, May 10, 2007
East Timor: Horta claims big lead after peaceful vote
Above: AFP snaps East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao waiting in a queue to vote along with others at a polling station in Dili. East Timor's election for president was peaceful - bolstering hopes that months of deadly political turmoil could be near an end. Gusmao will stand aside for a new president, but he will make a tilt for the prime ministership.
East Timor presidential candidate Jose Ramos-Horta says he's secured a large lead over his rival as vote counting continues following this week's run-off election.
"I am still awaiting official results because they are still being counted, but I could get 70-80 percent," Ramos-Horta told reporters in the capital Dili. "In most of the districts, in all the western districts, I think I am winning."
East Timor held a peaceful presidential election on Wednesday, but Ramos-Horta a Nobel laureate - is alleging vote tampering in some districts that are strongholds of his rival, ruling Fretilin party president Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres.
"In Los Palos, Suai, observers and polling staff found many boxes with pre-perforated ballot papers for Lu-Olo, so there were strong attempts at manipulation," he says. Ramos-Horta repeated his call for the United Nations to stage the parliamentary poll in June, as the local body, the Timorese Technical Secretariat for Election Administration (STAE), was not up to the task.
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