Subject: KY: Ramos-Horta sworn in as E. Timor president, clash occurs

Ramos-Horta sworn in as E. Timor president, clash occurs


Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta was sworn in as the new president of East Timor on Sunday, urging East Timorese to promote tolerance, but a fresh violence erupted in the capital Dili.

Ramos-Horta was sworn in by parliament chief Fransisco ''Lu-Olo'' Guterres at a ceremony in the heavily guarded national parliament building in Dili, which was attended by parliament members and diplomats.

Ramos-Horta, who had been prime minister since July last year, will serve a five-year term as president.

In a speech delivered in four languages -- East Timor's national language Tetum, Portuguese, English and Indonesian, Ramos-Horta vowed to uphold law and order to bring peace to the nation frequently hit by violence.

''The people demand as the president of the republic I will do my effort to strengthen the legal system. I appeal to all the leaders to work together to promote tolerance and put away political confrontation and revenge,'' he said.

''Our people still live in a crisis...They have a faith in us to sit together to find a solution to end the crisis.''

Ramos-Horta also said, ''I will give all of my attention, 100 times, to the people's need.'' ''I appeal to the youth, gangsters, militias to avoid revenge and violence.''

After the ceremony, however, people who gathered in Dili to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the country's independence clashed with supporters of the Fretilin party that has dominated parliament, leaving one person dead, hospital officials said.

According to witnesses, more than 10 people were also injured. Police fired warning shots and detained about 20 people, the witnesses said.

Ramos-Horta won the nation's first presidential election since its independence from Indonesia in May 2002. Eight candidates including Ramos-Horta, an independent, and Guterres, also head of the Fretilin party, ran in the election.

Ramos-Horta garnered 69 percent of the vote in a runoff held earlier this month following a first round of elections in early April in which no candidates secured a majority.

In the first round on April 9, Ramos-Horta won 22.6 percent of votes while Guterres secured nearly 28.8 percent.

The runoff was conducted between Ramos-Horta and Guterres.

In the election, Ramos-Horta called for a national reconciliation while pledging to rebuild the nation, which has been embroiled in political uncertainty following unrest last year.

Born on Dec. 26, 1949, Ramos-Horta received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, sharing it with fellow countryman Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo.

After East Timor gained independence, he was appointed as foreign minister.

He became prime minister in July last year after Mari Alkatiri resigned as premier under pressure to take responsibility for violence and political instability that erupted in late April of 2006.

Ramos-Horta founded Fretilin in 1974 as a pro-independence party but left it in 1988. His relationship with the party has not been good in recent times, particularly since he replaced Alkatiri, a senior Fretilin leader, as prime minister.

His predecessor Xanana Gusmao had decided not to seek a second term as president, the largely ceremonial post. The former independence fighter is eyeing the premiership through parliamentary elections on June 30.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda was among those who attended the swear-in ceremony.

Indonesia annexed East Timor in 1974, taking over the territory from the 400-year colonial rule of Portugal. East Timor officially gained independence on May 20, 2002, after its people overwhelmingly voted for independence in 1999 and it came under U.N. administration for two-and-a-half years.

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