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Fretilin leads preliminary results in East Timor elections, UN reports

Fretilin leads preliminary results in East Timor elections, UN reports

The party that led East Timor's fight for independence is standing at the front of the preliminary results of the territory's historic elections, according to early reports from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) released today.

With UNTAET's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announcing early results for national representatives from 10 of East Timor's 13 districts, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) held a commanding lead in nine of them.

Voters in last month's election for an 88-member Constituent Assembly used two ballot papers, choosing one representative for their district and one national representative. Once the IEC tallies the entire national vote, the 75 national seats in the Assembly will be awarded proportionally to parties and independent candidates.

The election results will only be certified on 10 September after a period where parties and candidates may challenge the results.

Meanwhile, the head of UNTAET, Sergio Vieira de Mello, congratulated the people of East Timor on the historic occasion, praising them for turning out to vote in such numbers and reiterating his call for universal respect for the election's outcome.

"The time has now come to move forward, together as one, with the important work that lies ahead," he said.