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East Timor president chooses opposition member as country's new prime minister

  • Former East Timorese health minister Rui Araujo talks to the media after his meeting with President Taur Matan Ruak in Dili, East Timor, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Araujo was appointed as the country's new prime minister to replace independence hero Xanana Gusmao who resigned last week. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)

    Former East Timorese health minister Rui Araujo talks to the media after his meeting with President Taur Matan Ruak in Dili, East Timor, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Araujo was appointed as the country's new prime minister to replace independence hero Xanana Gusmao who resigned last week. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former East Timorese health minister Rui Araujo steps out of his car prior to a meeting with President Taur Matan Ruak in Dili, East Timor, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Araujo was appointed as the country's new prime minister to replace independence hero Xanana Gusmao who resigned last week. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)

    Former East Timorese health minister Rui Araujo steps out of his car prior to a meeting with President Taur Matan Ruak in Dili, East Timor, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. Araujo was appointed as the country's new prime minister to replace independence hero Xanana Gusmao who resigned last week. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)  (The Associated Press)

East Timor's president has chosen opposition party member Rui Maria de Araujo as the new prime minister of the half-island nation.

Araujo, a former health minister, replaces former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao, who resigned last week ahead of an expected restructuring of the government to make it more inclusive.

The presidential office said Wednesday that Araujo was picked after talks between President Taur Matan Ruak and parties with seats in Parliament.

Araujo, 50, was health minister under the United Nations Transitional Administration from 2001 to 2002 and then under East Timor governments from 2002 to 2007.

The former Portuguese colony was invaded in 1975 and occupied by Indonesia until a U.N.-backed referendum in 1999 led to it becoming a sovereign state on May 20, 2002.