DILI, East Timor (AP) -- The United Nations on Wednesday named independence leader and former guerrilla commander Xanana Gusmao the winner of East Timor's first presidential election.
Gusmao's landslide victory was formalized when the U.N. electoral commission announced he had won 82.7 percent of the 378,538 votes cast in Sunday's ballot. His sole challenger, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, took 17.3 percent. The remaining ballots were ruled invalid.
Carlos Valenzuela, the U.N. electoral chief, announced the election result live on a national radio broadcast.
"The next five years will constitute a great challenge," Gusmao told reporters at a joint news conference with do Amaral after the announcement. "The expectations are high, the anxieties and necessities are enormous."
Gusmao will be inaugurated on May 20, when the U.N. transitional administration ends and East Timor, a territory of 800,000, becomes the world's newest independent country. It shares an island with the Indonesian province of West Timor.
The elections were the final step in East Timor's long and bloody struggle to break free of foreign rule.
East Timor's constitution stipulates a largely symbolic role for the president. Gusmao has defined his role as president as a government watchdog and has said he has veto power over decisions by the legislature -- although the constitution limits such power to only a few cases.
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