DILI - East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta, who won the 1996 Nobel peace prize, conceded defeat on Monday in his bid to win a second term and congratulated two rivals set to proceed to a second round of voting in April.
Francisco Guterres from the main opposition party Fretilin and Jose Maria de Vasconcelos, the former army chief and guerrilla leader, were the two leading candidates in the first-round vote, according to electoral commission data.
After 84 percent of the vote had been counted, Guterres led narrowly with 128,266 votes or 28.45 percent, while de Vasconcelos had 113,553 votes or 25.16 percent. Ramos-Horta was in third with 80,291 votes or 17.81 percent.
"I congratulate the two candidates who continue into the second round," Ramos-Horta said at a news conference on Monday.