The election followed a year of violence and political turmoil in East Timor. While Fretilin's led the election, the vote share plummeted from the 57 percent it took in the 2001 election.
The ruling Fretilin emerged as the top party in ballot-counting from East Timor's weekend parliamentary elections, but it was far short of a legislative majority and will have to try to form an alliance with other blocs.
Most other parties contesting the elections have indicated that they will not join the party, raising the possibility that it will be forced into opposition despite winning the most votes in Saturday's polls.
Analysts say a likely outcome is a government formed around the party of independence hero Xanana Gusmao, which garnered around 6 percentage points less votes than the 29 percent received by Fretilin, according a count of 97 percent of ballots cast.
Under that scenario, Gusmao could become prime minister.
"If Fretilin fail to make a coalition, it is better for them to become the opposition," said Julio Tomas Pinto, a professor of political science at East Timor's La Paz University. "To avoid become the opposition," said Julio Tomas Pinto, a professor of political science at East Timor's La Paz University. "To avoid violence, the Fretilin leadership has to make sure its supporters understand that it did not win a simple majority," he said.
The election followed a year of violence and political turmoil in East Timor, which broke from Indonesian rule in a U.N.-sponsored referendum in 1999 and has since struggled with widespread poverty, gang violence and other problems.
Mari Alkatiri, head of Fretilin, said Wednesday his party was in talks with several other blocs forming a governing coalition, but ruled out any deal with Gusmao's party.
While it led the election, Fretilin's vote share plummeted from the 57 percent it took in the 2001 election. That widely predicted slide was largely due to anger at the slow pace of development since independence, analysts said.
East Timor, a Portuguese colony for 450 years, fought a 24-year struggle against Indonesia and formally became independent just five years ago.
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Jakarta Post Coalition talks begin in East Timor following polls 08 July 2007