East Timor Appears Headed for Run-off Without Ramos-Horta

Posted March 18th, 2012 at 11:15 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Preliminary election results in East Timor indicate the country is headed for a presidential run-off without incumbent leader Jose Ramos-Horta on the second-round ballot.

With more than 60 percent of the vote tallied, election officials say Mr. Ramos-Horta is trailing in third place.

Preliminary results show Francisco Guterres, from the main opposition Fretilin party, ahead with about 28 percent of the vote. He is followed by former military chief Jose Maria de Vasconcelos with 25 percent.

President Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace laureate, has garnered just over 18 percent.

Official results are not expected until Tuesday. But it appears none of the 11 candidates will win the outright majority needed to avoid a run-off.

The top two vote getters are expected to move to the second-round poll scheduled for April 21.

East Timor, one of the world's youngest and poorest nations, voted Saturday in the second presidential election since the country won independence from Indonesia in 2002.

Officials reported no unrest during Saturday's election, unlike the presidential vote in 2006 during which violence nearly plunged the country into civil war.

If the presidential election and an upcoming parliamentary vote in June run smoothly, the contingent of U.N. and Australian troops now keeping the peace in East Timor is scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year.