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Opinion

The outsized implications of East Timor's presidential election

Ramos Horta victory will likely help Beijing secure another regional foothold

| East Timor
Jose Ramos Horta speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Dili on March 15: Ramos-Horta's pro-China tilt may make East Timor more vulnerable to great power competition.   © AP

Parker Novak is a U.S.-based government affairs professional and former East Timor and Indonesia director for the International Republican Institute; Jack Mullan is a Singapore-based risk analyst and founder of a regional markets consulting firm operating in East Timor.

Jose Ramos-Horta's victory in East Timor's presidential runoff election against incumbent President Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres will have a major impact on two areas critical to Southeast Asia's future: energy and China's role in the region.

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