East Timor Peace Agreement Architect Closer To Presidency

In the first round of the election in April he narrowly missed securing an outright majority.

Independence leader and Nobel laureate Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta has taken a decisive lead in the second and final round of East Timor’s presidential election, early results of the vote showed on Wednesday.

Timorese voters headed to the polls in the half-island nation of 1.3 million on Tuesday, choosing between Mr. Ramos-Mr. Horta and ex-guerrilla fighter President Mr. Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres.

With almost half of votes counted, Mr. Ramos-Mr. Horta had a commanding lead of 59 per cent while Mr. Lu Olo had 41 per cent, according to data from the country’s election administration body.

Mr. Ramos-Horta, 72, is one of East Timor’s best known political figures and previously served as prime minister then as the country’s second president from 2007 to 2012.

He was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1996 for his efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict in East Timor when the country was brutally occupied by Indonesia.

In the first round of the election in April he narrowly missed securing an outright majority.

Speaking after voting near his home in the capital of Dili, Mr. Ramos-Mr. Horta said he was “very confident” he would win but would honour the final results.

East Timor’s first president, Xanana Gusmao, is backing Mr. Ramos-Mr. Horta in this election and has described the current government as “constitutionally illegitimate.” Mr. Lu Olo, the incumbent, refused to swear in several ministers from Gusmao’s political party on the grounds they were facing ongoing legal investigations, including for alleged corruption.

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