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East Timor election heads for runoff

Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 01:48

Mar 18 - East Timor waits for presidential election results, as incumbent Jose Ramos-Horta trails in third place. Travis Brecher reports.

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With over half of votes counted in East Timor's presidential election, incumbent Jose Ramos-Horta is trailing in third place behind an opposition leader and a former army chief. The election commission said Fransisco Guterres was in the lead, followed by Jose Maria Vasconcelos. A run-off vote is now expected, with Ramos-Horta's bid for re-election seemingly in tatters. One woman says she is supporting former army chief, Vasconcelos. (SOUNDBITE) (Tetum) VEGETABLE VENDOR, HELENA CORREIA, SAYING: "I hope that Taur Matan Ruak will win this race as he fought with us, with the people of East Timor up, until the nation became free." Taur Matan Ruak, which means "two sharp eyes", is Vasconcelos' nickname. He was the last commander of the insurgent army which resisted Indonesian occupation for nearly 25 years. Another voter says he'd support both Vasconcelos and Guterres. (SOUNDBITE) (Tetum) VEGETABLE VENDOR, ANTONIO MORREIRA SAYING: "For me both of them are very important figures as they were involved in the people's struggle for almost 24 years, so if one of them becomes president I will support them." East Timor was a long-neglected Portuguese colony on the eastern half of a remote island in the south Pacific for hundreds of years. In 1975, Indonesia invaded and annexed the island nation. It gained independence in 1999, and become the first new sovereign state of the 21st century. Travis Brecher, Reuters

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East Timor election heads for runoff

Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 01:48