Asia

Former guerrilla fighter set to win East Timor presidency

An election worker holds up a ballot during the presidential election's vote counting at a polling station in Dili, East Timor, Monday, March 20, 2017. East Timor voted for a new president Monday in an election that will test Asia's newest and poorest nation. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)

An election worker holds up a ballot during the presidential election's vote counting at a polling station in Dili, East Timor, Monday, March 20, 2017. East Timor voted for a new president Monday in an election that will test Asia's newest and poorest nation. (AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez)  (The Associated Press)

An unofficial vote count shows a former guerrilla leader has won East Timor's presidency in the first election without U.N. supervision since peacekeepers left in 2012.

The tally announced Tuesday by the country's Election Commission indicated that Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres had a commanding lead over the Democratic Party's Antonio da Conceicao, who is minister of education and social affairs.

Official results are not expected until next week, but with 90 percent of the ballots tallied, Lu-Olo, a 62-year-old former guerrilla commander representing Fretilin, the traditional party of resistance to Indonesian rule, had 57 percent. Da Conceicao had 32 percent.

East Timor's president has a mostly ceremonial role.

East Timorese voted overwhelmingly in 1999 to end 24 years of brutal Indonesian occupation.