Polls open in East Timor

Voting gets under way in second parliamentary elections since independence.

    Fourteen parties are in the fray [AFP]

    Justino da Costa, a taxi driver who got in line outside a polling booth in Dili before dawn to cast his vote said: "I woke up very early to take part in deciding my country's destiny."
    Battle for votes
    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

    Fourteen parties are involved in the elections, but the major battle is expected to be between the ruling Fretilin party and the National Congress of East Timor's Reconstruction(CNRT).
    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 have registered to vote, overseen by around 500 foreign monitors and 3,000 peacekeepers.
    The parliamentary elections come just a month after the country elected Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate, as its president.
    Preliminary results are expected on July 7.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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