East_Timorese_presidential_election,_2007

East Timorese presidential election, 2007

The 2007 East Timorese presidential election involved two separate votes. The first, on 9 April 2007 eliminated six of the eight nominees. The remaining two candidates, current Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta and Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) President Francisco Guterres, faced each other in a runoff election on 9 May 2007. Ramos-Horta won the second round with 69% of the vote.

First round

Nominations and campaigns

Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta announced in February 2007 that he would be a presidential candidate, receiving the support of incumbent president Xanana Gusmão, who chose not to run for another term. Ramos-Horta's main opponent among the seven other candidates was parliamentary speaker Francisco Guterres, though also running were Francisco Xavier do Amaral (also a candidate in the 2002 election), Avelino Coelho da Silva of the Socialist Party, Fernando de Araújo of the Democratic Party, Lúcia Lobato of the Social Democratic Party (the sole female candidate), João Viegas Carrascalão of the Timorese Democratic Union, and Manuel Tilman of the Association of Timorese Heroes.

Campaigning began on 23 March, the day after two people were killed in gun battles with police in the capital Dili, though Ramos-Horta did not mention this in his opening campaign speech, instead focusing on poverty.

Results and controversy

Early results were announced by a spokesman for the national elections commission, Martinho Gusmão, who said that results from the capital Dili showed Ramos-Horta with about 30%, Araújo with about 25%, and Amaral and Guterres with about 20% each. On 11 April, the president of the commission said that Guterres was in first place with 28.8% and would participate in a second round to be held in May, while Ramos-Horta had 22.5% and Araújo had 18.6%. Five of the candidates — Araújo, Amaral, Lobato, Coelho, and Tilman — demanded that vote counting cease, alleging major problems in the election, and said that counting should only be conducted with all the candidates present to observe; they said that they would legally challenge the outcome. Soon afterward, Ramos-Horta joined the calls for a recount, and also called for a U.N. investigation regarding the absence of votes from 150,000 citizens. Commission spokesman Martinho Gusmão subsequently said on 12 April that there would not be a recount, but on 13 April he said that there were inconsistencies in the vote count and that it was possible that a re-vote might be necessary in some parts of the country. According to final results released by the electoral commission on 18 April, Guterres had 27.89% of the vote (112,666 votes) and Ramos-Horta had 21.81% (88,102 votes), which meant that the two would face each other in a second round. Araújo followed in third place with 19.18% (77,459 votes). Voter turn-out was placed at 81.79%. Following the release of the results, candidates had 24 hours to appeal, and three of the losing candidates, Araújo, Amaral, and Lobato did so, but the results were confirmed by an appeals court. On 26 April, Araújo announced his party's support for Ramos-Horta in the second round; Ramos-Horta also received the support of four out of the five other candidates: Amaral, Lobato, Coelho da Silva, and Carrascalão. Manuel Tilman endorsed Guterres.

Results by district (1st round)

Based on official results of East Timor Election Commission
District Guterres Ramos-Horta de Araújo de Amaral Lobato Tilman Coelho da Silva Carrascalão
Aileu 873 1,592 1,492 11,767 817 1,089 288 217
Ainaro 2,453 901 4,623 6,103 1,603 5,555 377 714
Baucau 30,956 13,265 1,105 865 1,226 604 823 300
Bobonaro 4,803 5,562 13,930 2,325 6,678 1,250 635 815
Cova-Lima 6,240 1,867 7,681 3,192 3,242 676 218 384
Dili 11,801 29,619 9,904 12,672 4,662 1,734 1,322 771
Ermera 7,187 3,843 18,516 5,946 1,769 1,712 657 1,057
Lautém 12,392 6,006 3,248 743 2,884 345 519 323
Liquiçá 1,979 7,446 3,168 4,089 3,855 1,001 571 791
Manatuto 2,673 6,015 2,133 2,686 485 539 702 681
Manufahi 4,953 1,745 3,116 6,554 1,497 870 281 261
Oecussi-Ambeno 5,661 4,791 7,643 630 5,651 491 254 410
Viqueque 20,695 5,450 900 553 1,420 668 1,691 204
Total 112,666 88,102 77,459 58,125 35,789 16,534 8,338 6,928

Second round

Campaigning and corruption allegations

The Timorese returned to the polls on 9 May to vote in a runoff between Ramos-Horta and Guterres. In the intervening month between the votes, Guterres alleged that Australia soldiers in East Timor as part of Operation Astute were interfering with the election process and Fretilin campaign rallies. The Fretilin party executive José Teixeira said:

The ISF (International Stabilisation Force) should not be frightening and intimidating an entirely peaceful election gathering... We are not convinced that there is no connection between the troops' behaviour and the Australian Government's apparent support for José Ramos-Horta.|20px|20px

Both Ramos-Horta and the United Nations rejected the Fretilin's claims. On 8 May, the day before the election, Ramos-Horta rebutted, saying:

Why are they so afraid, so upset that the international security forces go to the east? Because they wanted to operate, put pressure, threaten people with absolute impunity, without a neutral force standing by. That's why they're so upset.|20px|20px

Prior to the election, both candidates agreed they would accept the result no matter the outcome, with outgoing President Xanana Gusmao also urging all sides to vote peacefully and accept the result.

Election day

Amid tight security from the Australian forces present, the election was peaceful and orderly, with no violence related to the election reported. However within a day of votes being counted, irregularities began to appear. These include 87 marked voting papers found at a booth before polls opened as well as children under 17 with their own registration cards attempting to vote.

Second round results

Following the election, initial reports predicted a large majority for Ramos-Horta. Ramos-Horta said that he thought that he "could have 70-80%" of the vote, and a spokesman for the election commission said that he was in the lead in most districts. With 90% of votes counted, Ramos-Horta had 73%. However, he declined to declare victory until the results were verified and final. Subsequently, on May 11, provisional results showed Ramos-Horta with 69% of the vote against 31% for Guterres, and Guterres accepted defeat and congratulated Ramos-Horta. Voter turnout in the second round was placed at 81%. Ramos-Horta took office on May 20.

Candidate Party Votes %
José Ramos-Horta Independent 285,835 69.18
Francisco Guterres Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) 127,342 30.82
Total valid votes 413,177 100.00

Results by district (2nd round)

Based on the official results of East Timor Election Commission
District Ramos-Horta Guterres
Aileu 16,591 1,075
Ainaro 16,395 5,121
Baucau 16,987 33,745
Bobonaro 30,351 5,504
Cova-Lima 17,246 5,343
Dili 63,010 15,787
Ermera 33,923 7,198
Lautém 12,919 13,547
Liquiçá 20,705 2,881
Manatuto 13,571 3,240
Manufahi 14,362 4,857
Oecussi-Ambeno 19,332 6,879
Viqueque 10,443 22,165
Total 285,835 127,342

Voting logistics

The logistics of providing the entire East Timor population with access to voting stations proved difficult through both elections. Across the country there were 700 polling stations. Some locations were so isolated that helicopters and donkeys were needed to distribute ballot papers to them.

References

External links

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