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.
The president is elected for a term of five years. If the results are finally confirmed, Ruak will take over from current President and Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta on May 20. The president is the head of state with certain veto power but not the center of the power structure in Timor-Leste. However, given the popularity and reputation enjoyed by the two presidents so far, the elected president may have significant influence in the young republic that is going to celebrate its 10th birthday. The prime minister, usually the leader of the majority party or leading political alliance in the parliament, is the head of the government.