Subject: AFP: Candidates appeal ETimor election results

Agence France Presse

April 19, 2007

Candidates appeal ETimor election results

DILI, April 19 2007

Three losing candidates in East Timor's presidential election appealed the result Thursday, their lawyer said, a move that further delays the official outcome of the first round.

Results from the April 9 election released Wednesday confirmed Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and the ruling Fretilin party's Francisco Guterres will contest a runoff next month.

But a lawyer for the three candidates said the April 9 poll had been manipulated and he had protested to the appeal court, in a bid to have it declared void.

"We have appealed the results that were announced yesterday by the CNE (national election commission) because it was invalid and full of manipulations," lawyer Benvides Correia told reporters.

Neither leading candidate won 50 percent of the vote required to secure an outright win to replace charismatic president Xanana Gusmao in the first election since the country gained independence in 2002.

Wednesday's results were final pending a 24-hour window for candidates to appeal, the national election commission said.

The candidates who are appealing include opposition Democrat Party chairman Fernando "Lasama" de Araujo, who placed third with 19.18 percent, and 77,459 votes, as well as Lucia Lobato, who won 8.86 percent of the vote, and Fransisco Xavier, with 14.39 percent.

Voter turnout in the April 9 poll was high and Timorese are hoping the election stalemate will not plunge the impoverished nation into more turmoil and bloodshed.

Wednesday's result had been delayed after a technical error was discovered and also because of concerns of irregularities.

The runoff for the largely ceremonial post is due to be held on May 8.

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