East Timor vote count begins

Counting is underway after polling in East Timor's parliamentary elections closed with a good turnout and with no reports of any major incidents, according to the United Nations.

East Timor vote count begins
Counting is underway after polling in East Timor's parliamentary elections closed with a good turnout and with no reports of any major incidents, according to the United Nations.

Saturday's election in the former Portuguese colony and the month-long campaign passed off peacefully, overseen by 1,700 UN police and a force of Australian-led troops.

Allison Cooper, UN spokeswoman, said on Saturday: "The vote has been completed peacefully without any major incident".

UN police were seen guarding the boxes being brought to the main counting centre in Dili.

Under a new system, ballot boxes from polling stations were transferred to district counting centres.

Helicopters were used to reach remote areas, especially after heavy rains washed away roads in some parts of the country.

It is the third election in East Timor in as many months, following a presidential vote and run-off.

Fourteen parties contested the 65 parliamentary seats in a contest that local commentators say is a showdown between the new CNRT party and the ruling Freitilin party.

The CNRT is a new party founded by Xanana Gusmao, a former president seen by many as a hero of independence.

Neither party is forecast to win the absolute parliamentary majority required to govern, meaning a coalition will need to be formed with some of the 12 other parties contesting the polls.

The month-long campaigning period building up to the elections was marred by the shooting of two of Gusmao's supporters.

More than 548,000 people had registered to vote, overseen by around 500 foreign monitors and 3,000 peacekeepers.

The parliamentary elections came just a month after the country elected Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate, as its president.

Preliminary results are expected on July 7.

Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2007, 18:40
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