DILI – The leader of the Alliance for Change and Progress in East Timor on Tuesday declared victory in the country’s recent parliamentary elections, and called for a peaceful transition to power at a press conference in Dili.
Xanana Gusmao, ex-president of East Timor, and leader of the AMP, called for a peaceful transition of power after the majority of ballots showed his coalition had won in the polls, and called on the president of the defeated party not to block the new political transition, an epa-efe journalist reported.
“If we only won 32 seats we would need to form a coalition,” he said.
Gusmao spoke alongside former president Jose Maria Vasconcelos, better known as Taur Matan Ruak, who is the leader of the People’s Liberation Party, which is part of the victorious coalition.
His speech comes after elections held on Saturday gave victory to Gusmao’s AMP coalition, with 49.59 percent of the votes, according to East Timor’s Technical Secretariat of the Electoral Administration.
The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), led by incumbent Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, received 34.18 percent of the votes, and in third spot came the Democratic Party with 8.03 percent.
However, the official results will not be published until between May 27-28.
Gusmao served as the first Head of State of East Timor between 2002-2007 and then as Head of Government (2007-2015), while Taur Matan Ruak served as president between 2012-2017.
The polls were called early after the opposition had blocked the budget and other government policies in the parliament along with other opposition parties.
The parliamentary impasse lasted for six months, its maximum legal length, after which President Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres of Fretilin had dissolved the legislature and announced fresh elections.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, came into existence in 2002 as one of the poorest countries in the world, with a past marked by Portuguese colonization, Indonesian occupation and a subsequent transition overseen by the United Nations.
The country’s economy is largely dependent on oil reserves, which account for more than half of its exports, and the International Monetary Fund in 2011 said the country was most oil-dependent economy in the world.
Despite that, much of the Southeast Asian country’s population lives in poverty.