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East Timor to Decide on New Prime Minister This Week

FILE- East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao speaks to reporters after voting in a polling station during parliamentary elections in Dili, July 7, 2012.

East Timor's president is expected to decide on a new prime minister by the end of this week after accepting the resignation of independence hero Xanana Gusmao, the government said in a statement on Monday.

Gusmao, 68, a guerrilla leader who helped end Indonesian rule in 2002, submitted his resignation letter on Friday to allow for a younger generation to lead a nation that ranks among the world's poorest, despite its abundant gas resources.

President Taur Matan Ruak planned to meet with political parties this week to discuss the restructuring of the government.

"It is expected that the constitution of the new government will be concluded at the end of the week," the statement said.

It was not immediately clear who would succeed Gusmao though experts say front runners include former health minister Rui Araujo and state minister Agio Pereira.