Ramos-Horta sweeps East Timor poll

Jose Ramos-Horta is on course for a landslide win in East Timor's presidential run-off vote after sweeping almost three quarters of the votes with about 90 per cent of ballots counted.

Ramos-Horta sweeps East Timor poll
Jose Ramos-Horta is on course for a landslide win in East Timor's presidential run-off vote after sweeping almost three quarters of the votes with about 90 per cent of ballots counted.

The results announced before the official final count due on Friday afternoon, put him far ahead of his opponent, Francisco Guterres.

Speaking to reporters Ramos-Horta, vowed to heal deep political and social rifts which have ripped the country apart.

"I will carry out my duties according to the constitution and listen to advice from everybody so that I can take Timor Leste to a better future," he said.

Unity pledge

"I will honour what I told the people in the campaign... I will work for the poor, with the entire country, to unite it, and heal its wounds.

"But I don't celebrate because it's going to be five years of hard work," the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

"It's no cause for celebration."

Maria Angelina Sarmento, an election commission spokeswoman, said some ballots were still on their way to the capital Dili.

Ramos-Horta's victory will be made official after the court of appeals signs off on the final tally.

EU poll observers commended the way Wednesday's run-off election was conducted, after last month's first round was marred by complaints of widespread irregularities.

Both candidates in the second round have vowed to respect the result.

Political rivals

Ramos-Horta's political ally, outgoing president Xanana Gusmao, is planning to run for prime minister in parliamentary polls on June 30 in a bid to sideline Fretilin, the party led by Guterres.

Fretilin was in power when violence last year brought the country to the brink of civil war.

A regional split erupted into bloodshed last May after the sacking of 600 mutinous soldiers from the western region.

Foreign troops were brought in to restore order but 30,000 people remain in camps across Dili, afraid to go home.

Support

Arsenio Bano, a Fretilin spokesman and labour minister, congratulated Ramos-Horta, a former journalist who spearheaded an overseas campaign for East Timor's independence.

"As a party, we will support the new president of the republic," Bano told Reuters.

"It was not a perfect election but we have to move forward. We have said we will win with dignity, we will lose with dignity."

The party will present some complaints to the election commission, he added.

Ramos-Horta, who is widely viewed as more friendly to the West, has pledged to work closely with the international community and speed up economic development.

Many of East Timor's one million people are unemployed and fighting widespread poverty will be one of the biggest challenges for the president to face.
Last Mod: 11 Mayıs 2007, 10:27
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