Voting has got underway in East Timor’s presidential election. Half a million people are eligible to vote in the ballot, which incumbent Xanana Gusmao says is a chance to prove the country is on the road to stability. Around 3,000 thousand international troops are monitoring the situation, amid fears that disturbances could break out. East Timor has been rocked by violence since gaining independence from Indonesia in 1999, most recently last summer when more than two dozen were killed.
Eight candidates are in the running, including Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace prize winner who spearheaded the campaign for independence. Groups of rival supporters clashed in the streets last week. Dozens of people were injured before international peacekeepers intervened. Initial results are due tomorrow. If no one wins more than half the vote, a run-off will be held.