Xanana Gusmao

It was no surprise when East Timor’s former resistance leader, president and prime minister Xanana Gusmao announced he would support the Fretilin Party’s candidate for the presidency, Francisco Lu-Olo Guterres. Gusmao had said as much more than a week ago, and the move had been expected since last year.

Gusmao’s party, CNRT, is now also expected to formally endorse Lu-Olo’s candidature in the March presidential elections. This means that the country’s two largest parties, which have recently operated in a "government of national unity", are likely to have a lock on the presidential race outcome.