8 Jul 2012

Preliminary East Timor election results put Gusmao ahead

9:39 pm on 8 July 2012

Preliminary results from East Timor's general election show the party of the prime minister Xanana Gusmao emerging with the biggest share of the vote.

His National Council of Timorese Resistance has won about 37% of the vote, and is likely to need continuing support from coalition partners to stay in office.

His main challenger, Fretilin, appears headed for about 30% of the vote.

Wrangling over a coalition generated weeks of tensions after the 2007 elections.

The United Nations sees the polls - and their aftermath - as the last big test that will decide whether its remaining 1300 peacekeepers and other security staff can withdraw as planned within six months.