LUSA: Poll shows FRETILIN slipping, but keeping majority support
East Timor: First poll shows FRETILIN slipping, but keeping majority
Dili, Nov. 6 (Lusa) - East Timor's governing FRETILIN party has lost
electoral support but retains majority backing after nearly 18 months in
power, according to the country's first political poll, sources told Lusa
The poll, which will be released next week, showed that, if elections were
held now, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's FRETILIN would get a fraction
more than 50 percent of the vote, down from its landslide 57.4 percent in
the pre-independence ballot in August 2001.
Sources linked to the polling, which was carried out with the aid of the
US International Republican Institute, said the two largest opposition
parties made significant gains.
The Democratic Party would get 3-to-4 percent more votes than its 2001
tally of 8.7 percent and the third-ranked Social Democratic Party would
take an additional 2 percent, according to the poll.
The more than 1,000 Timorese polled also indicated that the country's most
popular figure is the former Catholic bishop of Dili, Carlos Ximenes Belo,
a Nobel Peace laureate, with a 95 percent approval rating.
President Xanana Gusmao and Catholic Bishop Bas?io do Nascimento drew for
second place with 94 percent each.
With a 49-percent approval rating, Alkatiri placed behind Foreign Minister
Jose Ramos Horta (83 percent) and Defense Forces chief Brig. Taur Matan
Ruak (74 percent).
Mario Carrascalao, leader of the opposition Social Democrats, also beat
out the prime minister with 64 percent preference.
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