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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
Gusmao heads for landslide win
Do Amaral and Gusmao shake hands on polling day
Official results are expected on Wednesday
Early results from East Timor's first presidential election show a strong lead for the former rebel leader, Xanana Gusmao.

In the capital, Dili, Mr Gusmao garnered more than 80% of valid votes cast, officials said.

His only challenger, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, received about 18%.

Dozens of Mr Gusmao's supporters clapped and cheered as the result was read out

Figures from other regions are still awaited, with final results due on Wednesday.

Xanana Gusmao led East Timor's guerrilla army against occupying Indonesian forces. He was captured in 1992 and kept in a Jakarta jail for seven years.

Good-natured vote

Choosing a president is the final step to nationhood for East Timor, which voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999. It has been ruled first by Portugal and then Indonesia for centuries.

Key facts:
  • President to serve for five years
  • New parliament already elected
  • Independence on 20 May
    See also:
      Profile of East Timor

  • Chief electoral officer Carlos Valenzuela proclaimed the vote a success, after provisional estimates suggested a turnout of 86%.

    Voting started slowly on Sunday morning but picked up significantly as people went to polling stations after attending church to celebrate Mass.

    The two candidates went together to their polling station in a school in the capital Dili and embraced before casting their votes.

    Mr do Amaral has said he expects to lose, but wanted to give voters a choice.

    Polling stations had been due to close at 1600 (0700 GMT) on Sunday, but electoral officials said voters already in the queue were still allowed to cast their ballots after this time, as had been agreed earlier.

    The BBC's Richard Galpin in Dili says the election went ahead very smoothly, with no reports of any serious trouble.

    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
    09 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
    Wiranto attacks Timor trials as 'unfair'
    26 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
    Australia pledges $3m to East Timor
    25 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
    E Timor, Indonesia sign accords
    21 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
    East Timor launches truth commission
    12 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
    Eyewitness: East Timor's road to recovery
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