Also: Timor-Leste.
Officially: Repúblika Demokrátika Timór-Leste; República Democrática de Timor-Leste.
English: East Timor.
Seat of government: Dili.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: Parliament (Parlamentu Nasionál) is elected by party-list proportional representation, and chooses the prime minister. The president is elected directly.
Governing parties: Congresso Nacional da Reconstrução de Timor; Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente (Fretilin); Partido Democrático; Frente de Reconstrução Nacional de Timor-Leste – Mudança.
Heads of government: Rui Maria de Araújo, Fretilin, prime minister (since 2015); Taur Matan Ruak, president (since 2012).
Recent history: Fretilin as an organization, and Xanana Gusmão as an individual, were separately the chief leaders of the fight against rule by Indonesia (1975-99); with the withdrawal of Indonesia and the arrival of democracy, they became the two key forces in the state’s politics. A highly-active electorate voted overwhelmingly for secession from Indonesia (1999), elected a constitutional assembly (2001, dominated by Fretilin), and elected a president, Gusmão (2002-7). Independence was recognized in 2002. The first prime minister was Marí Alkatiri (2001-6) of Fretilin. An internal military crisis brought a return of outside troops, a standoff between Gusmão and Alkatiri, and finally Alkatiri’s resignation. He was replaced by José Ramos-Horta (2006-7). Ramos-Horta then replaced Gusmão as president (2007-12) after winning a 2007 election in a runoff with Francisco (Lú-Olo) Guterres of Fretilin. A subsequent parliamentary election saw Fretilin finish first, but with half of its original support. Gusmão formed the Aliança com Maioria Parlamentar (his own CNRT; Associação Social-Democrata Timorense – Partido Social Democrata; PD; União Democrática Timorense) and became prime minister (2007-15). In 2012, Taur Matan Ruak won the presidency with CNRT support in a runoff with Guterres; in parliamentary elections the CNRT by itself won a substantial plurality, and Gusmão continued in office with the support of the PD. In 2015, Gusmão resigned, nominating Araújo to replace him in a unity government of all parliamentary parties. In 2017, Guterres, this time with support from CNRT, defeated António da Conceição of the PD for the presidency.
FH: 3-4, partly free (democratic). Econ: 7.22 (47), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2017 March 23.