East Timor Holds Guarded Elections

Fears of violence hover over country’s first presidential vote
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted Apr 9, 2007 7:14 AM CDT
An East TImorese man waving a flag for the Fretlin Party   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – East Timor is holding its first presidential elections since independence from Indonesia five years ago, with voters choosing between Nobel Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta and seven other candidates. It's hoped that the elections will stabilize the volitile country, where clashes between factions exploded in carnage last summer. International troops—mostly Australian—have kept a tenuous peace since June.

Initial reports from UN monitors suggest the polling is running smoothly. There’s no clear frontrunner, though, and concerns linger about sore losers lashing out. Incumbent Xanana Gusmao, who’s vacating the office, is denouncing violence and calling on all the candidates “in the name of society to accept the result of the election."