DILI, May 25 (Al Jazzera) - The party of East Timor independence hero Xanana Gusmão has won the most votes in the country’s parliamentary election, according to preliminary results, boosting his chances of returning as prime minister.
Gusmão’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won about 42 percent of votes after all ballots had been counted, according to election commission data carried by national broadcaster Radio-Televisão Timor Leste.
The Revolution Front for an Independent Timor-Leste (Fretilin), the party of Prime Minister José Maria Vasconcelos, popularly known as Taur Matan Ruak, was second with about 26 percent of the votes.
The remainder was split among 15 parties.
Sunday’s contest was the fifth parliamentary election since East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, finally secured its independence in 2002, after 25 years under the control of neighbouring Indonesia.
Many of its most prominent post-independence politicians are veterans of the struggle against Indonesian rule, and the latest election was billed as a battle between two resistance heroes, Gusmão, who is now 76, and Fretilin’s Mari Alkatiri, 73.
The former Portuguese colony of 1.3 million people must now wait to see who will be chosen as prime minister by the newly formed legislature.
Last year, independence leader and Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta, also of the CNRT party, was elected president, after a period of political uncertainty.
Gusmão, a former rebel leader, was East Timor’s first president and was prime minister from 2007 until his resignation from the post in 2015.