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: Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente (Fretilin); Partidu Libertasaun Popular; Kmanek Haburas Unidade Nasional Timor Oan; Partido Democrático.
Heads of government: Taur Matan Ruak (José Maria Vasconcelos), PLP, prime minister (since 2018); José Ramos-Horta, CNRT, president (since 2022).
Other parliamentary parties: Congresso Nacional da Reconstrução de Timor; União Democrática Timorense; Frente de Reconstrução Nacional de Timor-Leste – Mudança.
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, 2017-8) 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, 2022-) 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 Aliansa Maioria Parlamentar/Aliança com Maioria Parlamentar (his own CNRT; Associação Social-Democrata Timorense – Partido Social Democrata; PD; UDT) and became prime minister (2007-15). In 2012, Taur Matan Ruak (2012-7) 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 Rui Maria de Araújo (2015-7) of Fretilin to replace him in a unity government of all parliamentary parties. In 2017, Guterres (2017-22), this time with support from CNRT, defeated António da Conceição of the PD for the presidency. Later that year, Fretilin secured a narrow plurality over CNRT in parliamentary elections, and Alkatiri returned as prime minister in a minority coalition with the PD. The AMP (now calling itself “Aliansa Mudansa ba Progresu/Aliança para Mudança e Progresso” and including the CNRT and the PLP) won an absolute majority in 2018 elections, and Taur Matan Ruak became prime minister. A dispute between Taur Matan Ruak and the CNRT led to the withdrawal of the PLP from the AMP, but Taur Matan Ruak continued as prime minister with a different coalition.
FH: 3-4, partly free (democratic). Econ: 7.22 (47), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2022 July 17.