East Timor president admits defeat in election

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta officially announces his resignation at a press conference on March 19, 2012 in Dili, East Timor.

Story highlights

  • Jose Ramos-Horta says leadership will pass to one of his rivals
  • He survived an assassination attempt in 2008
  • East Timor gained full independence from Indonesia in 2002
President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor on Monday conceded defeat in the first round of presidential elections in the young nation.
"I will hand over the leadership of the country to the new president, to one of the two who are now going on to the second round," Ramos-Horta said.
Voting in the first round of the elections took place Saturday.
Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt in 2008. He was shot in the back by a group of rebel soldiers in the capital city of Dili.
Ramos-Horta shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work on behalf of the East Timorese people during the country's quarter-century occupation by Indonesia.
East Timor gained full independence from Indonesia in 2002. It has struggled at times to maintain stability since then, despite its oil and gas resources.