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East Timor election: Gusmao set to strengthen power

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East Timor election: Gusmao set to strengthen power


East Timor’s parliamentary elections are predicted to have been won by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s party, according to preliminary results.

But it’s unclear whether the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) will need to form a coalition to rule for a second term. The main opposition left-wing Fretilin party is in second place.

Fretilin came first in previous elections in 2007 but after political jockeying, CNRT was able to form a coalition with smaller parties.

Saturday’s election, along with a previous presidential vote in April, passed off peacefully giving hope to plans to withdraw 1,300 United Nations peacekeepers.

East Timor is a former Portuguese colony which was occupied by Indonesia in 1975. A subsequent bloody guerilla war ensued until independence overseen by the UN in 2002.

A new UN security mission began in 2006 to restore order after renewed unrest caused as much as 15 percent of the population to flee their homes.

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