Church takes lead in Timor-Leste presidential campaign
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Candidates join prayer rally, pledge peace as race kicks off ahead of March 20 polls
Candidates in Timor Leste together with church and government officials release pigeons at the start of campaigning ahead of presidential elections on March 20. (Photo by Thomas Ora)
In a sign of how much influence the Catholic Church retains in Timor-Lest all eight presidential candidates together with 5,000 people, joined a prayer rally in Dili to mark the start of campaigning ahead of the March 20 election.
In acknowledgement of the country's turbulent past since its colonial Portuguese masters left in 1975, candidates signed an agreement for a peaceful campaign on white linen after walking, chanting the Rosary, on March 2 from St. Joseph's Church to a Marian shrine next to the Dili bishop's residence.
The campaign, in which Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo is seen as the front-runner, kicked off on March 3 and ends on March 17.
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