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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Campaigns end ahead of Timor poll
A peacekeeper stands in front of campaign posters for Xanana Gusmao
After a violent start, the campaign has been generally peaceful
Political parties in East Timor have held their last campaign rallies ahead of this weekend's parliamentary poll.

Among those contesting the election are the ruling Fretilin party and a new party created by independence hero and former President Xanana Gusmao.

Supporters of both camps held rallies in the capital, Dili, waving flags and shouting slogans.

Some people have been hurt in clashes between rival supporters, but recently campaigning has been peaceful.

There were initial fears that this would not be the case, when two of Mr Gusmao's supporters were shot dead earlier in the campaign.

Clashes

Analysts suggest that voters in Saturday's poll will deal a heavy blow to Fretilin.

The party was in power last year when tensions between police and armed forces triggered weeks of street clashes that left more than 30 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.

The resulting unrest led to the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

Fretilin supporter
The Fretilin party has been in power since independence
Mr Gusmao's new party, the National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor, is expected to win the largest number of seats in parliament.

However he is not expected to win an overall majority, leaving key government positions open to negotiations between the parties.

East Timorese people hope this election will bring stability to a nation struggling with severe poverty.

Whoever wins faces huge challenges, particularly how to cut unemployment and reduce gang violence.

Saturday's poll comes just a month after former Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was elected president, also vowing to end violence in the young nation.

East Timor broke away from 25 years of Indonesian rule in a 1999 referendum. It was then under UN protection until it achieved independence in May 2002.




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