DILI - Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo" and Taur Matan Ruak fought together in East Timor's bitter struggle for freedom from Indonesia's long occupation of their half-island nation.
Now the former guerrilla leaders are doing battle for the presidency, facing off in a second round of voting after garnering the largest number of votes in the first round last month that failed to produce a decisive winner.
One of the two candidates is set to replace the Nobel Prize-winning incumbent Jose Ramos-Horta who trailed in third place in the first round and lost his bid for a second five-year term.
Both Lu Olo and Ruak are heroes of the fight against Indonesia's 24-year occupation, which left an estimated 183,000 people dead through genocide, disease and starvation, according to the country's reconciliation commission.
Lu Olo - Guterres's nom de guerre by which he is popularly known - has shed his guerrilla image, earning a law degree and campaigning in a suit and tie.
But Ruak went on the campaign trail dressed in military fatigues, reinforcing his hero credentials in a country where the struggle against occupation still resonates, a decade after independence.
The winner will become the leader of an impoverished and unstable country which faces a series of key events including the departure of UN forces stationed there since a bloody 1999 vote for independence.
Lu Olo, who heads the opposition Fretilin party, spent 24 straight years in the jungle, the longest of any of the nation's guerrilla leaders.