It looks almost certain that East Timor’s Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, has won the country’s presidential ballot. The election commission says after the counting of 90 percent of votes, Horta has won 73 percent support. However, it has not officially announced him as the winner, saying the results need to be verified. It says the court of appeal will make the final decision.
The main rival, former guerrilla fighter Francisco Guterres, failed to attract enough popular support, despite having the backing of the ruling Fretilin party. The outgoing President Xanana Gusmao is expected to stand for the post of prime minister. The election has been peaceful, raising hopes the ballot may prove to be a turning point for the country. It has struggled with violence and poverty since breaking free from decades of Indonesian rule in 1999.