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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
East Timor's election: What next?
East Timor has elected its first president, paving the way for it to become the world's newest country on 20 May.

Independence hero Xanana Gusmao won the vote by a landslide

But he has warned of huge challenges facing the fledgling nation, which voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, shortly after the colonial power, Portugal, pulled out.

What are your hopes for East Timor? What does the future now hold?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Viva East Timor
Dan, Australia

The hope is that no more countries colonise or neo-colonise the newly formed country.
Pedro Cunha, Portugal

It is a joyous occasion to see the people of East Timor/Timor Lorosae being able to vote on their presidential elections, and to give the whole of Asia an extraordinary example of democratic behaviour whilst electing their President. The youngest country in the world is also its youngest democracy and that should be a reason for all East Timorese to be proud of. Although it comes only in May, Happy Birthday Timor Lorosae!
Ciaran Valente, UK

Timor Lorosae is an example to all democracies in the world, and it has proved to be so once again in its presidential elections. I only wish that other democratic countries could complain that an 86% participation was "low-ish" for presidential elections.
Nuno Valente, Portugal

I have never seen people look so happy to go to the polls. They have good reason to be happy and proud. Congratulations, East Timor.
Jennifer Ethington, USA

The tragedy of East Timor that has lasted from 1975-1999 at last nears its final stages. UNTAET has been a complete success, for which the UN deserves congratulations. But most of all, the East Timorese people deserve to be lauded, for their courage in the face of holocaust and their restraint once free. Congratulations and best wishes to them all!
Ben Seligman, USA

Having worked with the UN in East Timor since April 2000 and in particular as a District Electoral Officer I have seen the great courage, enthusiasm and willingness to learn in these people which I hope will one day bring them to be a rich and prosperous Nation. It's only a small place but a fantastic one and I wish them the best of luck with their now un-bumpy future. After 400 years of foreign occupation and rape they deserve it.
Olly, East Timor

The people of East Timor have shown tremendous resilience and patriotism in fighting for independence. With the presidential election around the corner, there is no doubt that the people of East Timor will exhibit to the world that they can make it as a country bound by its history and inspired by its new found freedom.
Steven Mun, Malaysia

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor count begins
14 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Gusmao set to win Timor vote
04 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Gusmao calls East Timor refugees home
12 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: East Timor's road to recovery
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