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Court says East Timor coalition did win vote

Reuters - May 29, 2018

Nelson de la Cruz, Dili An East Timor opposition coalition, including a party led by independence hero Xanana Gusmao, won a majority of the seats in the May 12 election, a court has confirmed.

The new ballot was called to end months of deadlock in the country, where there had been a minority government led by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri since July 2017.

His party had protested about alleged irregularities during the vote, but the appeal court rejected the complaint.

The Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP) won 49.6 per cent of the votes, said Deolindo dos Santos, head of East Timor's Court of Appeal.

The alliance, a coalition of Gusmao's National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction and two other parties, secured 34 of the 65 seats in Parliament. The Fretilin party of outgoing Alkatiri won 34.2 per cent.

Fidelis Magalhaes, an official from the alliance, said the result should break the deadlock.

"East Timor must have a government that stands and comes from an absolute majority in Parliament," Magalhaes said by telephone.

He declined to comment on speculation that former president and prime minister Gusmao would stand again as prime minister.

The election campaign was marred by sporadic violence, though East Timor has been largely peaceful in recent years following recurrent bouts of political instability that it suffered since independence from Indonesia in 2002.

A 2017 parliamentary election produced no clear winner, with the Fretilin party winning just 0.2 per cent more votes than CNRT, and forming a minority government.

East Timor President Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres dissolved Parliament in January and called for fresh elections, the fifth parliamentary election since independence.

Candidates in the election had campaigned on promises to develop education and healthcare and boost agriculture and tourism in the country of 1.2 million people.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/court-says-east-timor-coalition-did-win-vote-20180529-p4zi75.html.

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