East Timor Conducts First Elections Following Independence in 2002; Characterized as “Without Violence or Intimidation” by UN
April 9, 2007
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The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that over 500,000 voters peacefully participated in East Timor’s first elections since gaining independence from Indonesia in 2002.  The report notes that the process was peaceful in the most volatile regions of East Timor, including “areas where UN political and international soldiers had previous been unable to stop violence (in the months leading up to the election).”  According to Reuters there were around 3,000 international troops and police in the streets on election day.  The elections were monitored by hundreds of international observers, and according to the Sydney Morning “UN police in all district reported that voting had taken place without violence of intimidation.” 

According to BBC News there are eight candidates competing for the presidency, which is being vacated by current president Xanana Gusmao.  The report says that the three front-running candidates are Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres and Fernando “Lasama” De Araujo.  The International Herald Tribune reports that to secure a first round victory a candidate must secure over half the vote.  If one candidate does not receive over half the vote, a run-off elections would be held between the top two candidates, which is shaping up to be “a likely scenario.” 

The BBC News report says that “official results are not expected until 16 April,” but that “preliminary results could begin to emerge on Tuesday (9 April).” 

Sources:

BBC News: Timor holds presidential polls
International Herald Tribune: Election turnout in East Timor is large and peaceful
Reuters: East Timor votes for president after crisis year
Sydney Morning Herald: Timor vote peaceful, but troops on alert

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