Electoral authorities are examining whether East Timor’s first presidential poll since independence was formally declared five years ago was free and fair. Already five candidates have complained of irregularities and today the prime minister said he wanted a recount.
This is despite the fact that Jose Ramos-Horta, who is running for the presidency, is through to the second round under results as they stand. There he is set to face the ruling party’s Francisco Guterres who topped the first round vote. While Monday’s ballot in the deeply-divided ex-Portuguese colony was mostly peaceful, allegations of irregularities have raised concerns about fresh instability.
One man on the street said he hoped the current premier would become president, saying he is known internationally as well as at home. But another favoured rival candidate Francisco Guterres – also known by the guerrilla nickname Lu’olo – saying that he lived in the country during the Indonesian era and so knows the people better. Indonesia annexed East Timor in 1975. Amid strong resistance to Jakarta’s rule, fighting, famine and disease killed more than 200,00 people.