Vote count begins in East Timor

Initial reports say the turnout was good, with no reports of any major incidents.

East Timor eleciton posters
Fourteen parties are in the fray. Preliminary results are expected on July 7 [AFP]
Under a new system, ballot boxes from polling stations were transferred to district counting centres.

Helicopters were used to reach remote areas, especially after heavy rains washed away roads in some parts of the country.

Battle for votes

It is the third election in East Timor in as many months, following a presidential vote and run-off.

Fourteen parties contested the 65 parliamentary seats in a contest that local commentators say is a showdown between the new CNRT party and the ruling Freitilin party.

Timor vote

Fourteen parties or coalitions fighting for places in 65-seat parliament

No single party expected to win majority under proportional representation system

Vote seen as showdown between new CNRT party and Fretilin

Key issues: Alleviating poverty, managing oil revenue, law and order

The CNRT is a new party founded by Xanana Gusmao, a former president seen by many as a hero of independence.

Neither party is forecast to win the absolute parliamentary majority required to govern, meaning a coalition will need to be formed with some of the 12 other parties contesting the polls.

The month-long campaigning period building up to the elections was marred by the shooting of two of Gusmao’s supporters.

More than 548,000 people had registered to vote, overseen by around 500 foreign monitors and 3,000 peacekeepers.

The parliamentary elections came just a month after the country elected Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate, as its president.

Preliminary results are expected on July 7.

Source: News Agencies