AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
DILI: East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's party looks set to win this weekend's parliamentary elections, according to preliminary results published Sunday.
His centre-left National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) won 36.11 percent of the votes in Saturday's poll, according to an official tally of more than 95 percent of the votes released by the electoral commission.
The main opposition left-wing Fretilin party was in second place with 30.09 percent, according to the tally.
The Democratic Party (PD), a member of the current ruling coalition, won 10.56 percent of the vote, according to the tally.
There was no indication as yet of how many seats in parliament each party had won, but the preliminary results indicate that the outgoing prime minister's term of five years may be extended.
Final results are not expected for several days.
Gusmao, a charismatic figure and a resistance hero during the struggle for independence from Indonesia, is fighting to stay on as prime minister.
CNRT campaigned on a platform of longer-term investment on major infrastructure projects such as roads, electricity and water.
Fretilin, which is synonymous with the pro-independence struggle, has campaigned on a populist platform of spending oil revenues to lift income and education levels.
The elections are a test of whether East Timor, which celebrated a decade of formal independence in May, is ready to take on its own security and will determine if UN peacekeepers can leave by the end of the year.
Presidential polls that were held over two rounds in March and April passed off peacefully.