Jose Mario Vaz, Guinea-Bissau’s former finance minister, will face Nuno Gomes Nabiam, a candidate seen closest to the army, in a May 18 presidential run-off due to complete the country’s return to civilian rule. The presidential and parliamentary vote is meant to offer the nation a fresh start after decades of instability since independence from Portugal. Its last vote in 2012 was abandoned after the military seized power between rounds of voting. “Guinea-Bissau citizens have given a strong signal to the political class in coming out in huge numbers to exercise their civic rights,” Augusto Mendes head of the election commission said on Wednesday, referring to a turnout of over 80 percent. Vaz, candidate of the dominant party African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), secured 40.99 percent of the votes in the first round, according to election commission figures.
Timor-Leste’s presidential election candidate Taur Matan Ruak delivered a speech to supporters on Wednesday that virtually amounts to a declaration of victory. Speaking in the public for the first time since the second round of the presidential polls on Monday, Ruak thanked his supporters and the individuals, organizations and political parties involved in the election. “My Victory Team! All and each one of you, thank you very much! ” he said to hundreds of supporters from a stage. In the background was a campaign post that reads, “in the past I fought with you for independence. Now I am with you again to develop this country.” Ruak, who had the support of the ruling party, had campaigned for presidency saying that he supports a safe and stable Timor- Leste and hopes to help develop the country.
East Timor is electing a new president in a run-off vote between two former freedom fighters, ahead of a decade of independence next month. Opposition leader Francisco Guterres and former guerrilla leader Taur Matan Ruak are pitted against each other. The incumbent, President Jose Ramos-Horta, admitted defeat after trailing in third place in the first round of the election last month. Mr Ramos-Horta said he would hand over power to the winner on 19 May.
East Timor’s second presidential election as a free nation will see two ex-guerrillas compete in a run-off vote on Monday, after the Nobel Prize-winning incumbent was knocked out in the first round. Either Francisco Guterres “Lu Olo” or Taur Matan Ruak, both heroes of the nation’s 24-year war against Indonesian occupation, will replace Jose Ramos-Horta, who trailed in third place in a vote seen as a key test for the young democracy. While the presidency is largely ceremonial, it enjoyed a high profile under Ramos-Horta, and the election is the first in a series of landmark events for the half-island nation of 1.1 million people. In May, East Timor will celebrate 10 years of independence, which came after three years of UN administration. Then, in July, voters will choose a new government in a general election. At the end of the year the impoverished and chronically unstable nation bids goodbye to UN forces stationed in the country since 1999.
José Ramos-Horta, the president of Timor-Leste who helped steer the country into independence after campaigning tirelessly for nearly a quarter of a century, has conceded defeat after a poor showing in weekend elections. The first round of voting passed peacefully, raising the prospects of a withdrawal of the Australian-led mission of about 400 UN peacekeeping troops that was deployed to Timor-Leste in 2006 to quell chaotic unrest. Francisco Lu Olo Guterres, of the traditionally strong leftist Fretilin party, was leading with 28% of the vote, followed by the former military chief Taur Matan Ruak with 25%. That means Ramos-Horta, with 18%, has no chance of advancing to a 21 April runoff. “Congratulations to them,” the Nobel peace laureate told reporters. “And also to the people who supported me throughout my mandate.”
More than 1,200 UN forces are ready to intervene in East Timor’s presidential election this weekend if there is an outbreak of major violence, according to the top UN official in the country. UN vehicle escorted by local and UN police force unload ballot boxes at a polling center in Dili, on March 16, in preparation for the presidential election. A decade after winning formal independence from Indonesia, East Timor will hold its second presidential election as a free state. East Timor, which gained formal independence from Indonesia a decade ago, will hold its second presidential poll as a free country Saturday with a line-up that includes the incumbent Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel laureate. Ameerah Haq, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for East Timor, told AFP that the campaign period had gone “remarkably well”. The peaceful run-up to the election stands in stark contrast to the rioting and factional fighting that erupted in 2006 ahead of elections the following year, which left at least 37 dead and pushed the country to the brink of civil war.
Timorese voters will go to the polls twice this year to elect the nation’s president and parliament for the third time since achieving independence in 2001. The elections, scheduled respectively for March and June, promise to be the most significant to date for Timor Leste, also known as East Timor. The 2002 elections followed the flush of independence from Indonesian rule, while the 2007 polls were overshadowed by the previous year’s political and civil unrest that led to the resignation of then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. This year’s elections will define the country’s direction over the next five years during which the United Nations Integrated Mission to Timor Leste and the Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) will both withdraw and national leaders will face critical development issues.
Concerns have been raised about possible intimidation of voters in a number of electoral districts in East Timor by members of the military loyal to their former chief and presidential hopeful Taur Matan Ruak. East Timorese will vote on March 17 in what will be just the second free presidential election in the tiny country since it gained independence a decade ago. Despite leading candidates, including incumbent president Jose Ramos-Horta, having downplayed the risk of a repeat of the violence which marred elections in 2007, observers on the ground have voiced fears about the potential for unrest. ‘I am completely reassured about security,’ Dr Ramos-Horta said told AAP. ‘Our police and the United Nations police are alert all over the country. They have tremendous experience over the years in assessing the situation, in pre-empting any security threats so I am very confident it will be okay.’