Ramos-Horta wins East Timor vote

President-elect wants UN forces to remain and vows to help the country's poor.

    Ramos-Horta has pledged to unite East Timor
    once he becomes president [EPA]
    Ramos-Horta told Al Jazeera that he would follow-up campaign pledges of helping the country's poor.

    Man of the poor

    "I have the full intention to use my mandate. My campaign theme was to speak for the poor and the poor have voted for me," he said.

    Despite the role of president president not encompassing budgetary matters he said he would push his reforms.

    "If the president is expected to bridge the divide in this country, to promote peace, reconciliation, then he should be expected also to demand adequate money for the poor."

    "One cannot talk about peace and democracy without the same time spending money on the poor people."

    Speaking to reporters Ramos-Horta, vowed to heal East Tmor's political and social rifts.
    "I will carry out my duties according to the constitution and listen to advice from everybody so that I can take Timor Leste to a better future," he said.

    No celebration

    "I will honour what I told the people in the campaign. I will work for the poor, with the entire country, to unite it, and heal its wounds"

    Jose Ramos-Horta, presidential candidate

    "I will honour what I told the people in the campaign... I will work for the poor, with the entire country, to unite it, and heal its wounds.
    "But I don't celebrate because it's going to be five years of hard work," the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner said.
    "It's no cause for celebration."

    He said he Australian and New Zealand peacekeeping forces should remain until at least the end of the year and that UN forces should stay for at least the next five years.

    "Stability in East Timor, or in any post-conflict country regards patience from the international community to ensure that peace is consolidated, that our institutions are consolidated," Ramos-Horta said, speaking live on Al Jazeera.
    Maria Angelina Sarmento, an election commission spokeswoman, said some ballots were still on their way to the capital Dili.
    Ramos-Horta's victory will be made official after the court of appeals signs off on the final tally.
    EU poll observers commended the way Wednesday's run-off election was conducted, after last month's first round was marred by complaints of widespread irregularities.
    Both candidates in the second round have vowed to respect the result.
    Political rivals

    UN election workers counting ballots in Dili [AP]

    Ramos-Horta's political ally, outgoing president Xanana Gusmao, is planning to run for prime minister in parliamentary polls on June 30 in a bid to sideline Fretilin, the party led by Guterres.
    Fretilin was in power when violence last year brought the country to the brink of civil war.
    A regional split erupted into bloodshed last May after the sacking of 600 mutinous soldiers from the western region.
    Foreign troops were brought in to restore order but 30,000 people remain in camps across Dili, afraid to go home.

    "It was not a perfect election but we have to move forward. We have said we will win with dignity, we will lose with dignity"

    Arsenio Bano, Fretilin spokesman

    Arsenio Bano, a Fretilin spokesman and labour minister, congratulated Ramos-Horta, a former journalist who spearheaded an overseas campaign for East Timor's independence.
    "As a party, we will support the new president of the republic," Bano told Reuters.
    "It was not a perfect election but we have to move forward. We have said we will win with dignity, we will lose with dignity."
    The party will present some complaints to the election commission, he added.
    Ramos-Horta, who is widely viewed as more friendly to the West, has pledged to work closely with the international community and speed up economic development.
    Many of East Timor's one million people are unemployed and fighting widespread poverty will be one of the biggest challenges for the president to face.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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