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East Timor votes for a new president in key test of the young nation's political stability
DILI, East Timor (AP) ' East Timor is voting for a new president, a key test of the young nation's political stability ahead of the planned departure of U.N. troops later this year.
The election is expected to be a three-way race between incumbent Jose Ramos Horta, former military chief Taur Matan Ruak and former parliamentary speaker Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guetteres.
East Timor, a small but desperately poor country despite its vast oil and gas reserves, declared independence in 2002 following decades of harsh rule by Indonesia.
It has since been plagued by bouts of violence and political unrest, resulting in the deployment of U.N. troops, but the lead-up to Saturday's vote was largely peaceful.
The top two vote-getters from Saturday's first round will move on to the second and final round next month.