East Timor Political System

According to Countryaah.com, with capital city of Dili, Timor-Leste is a country located in Southeastern Asia with total population of 1,318,456.

State and politics


Ant車nio Salazar became Portuguese dictator in 1928. During Salazar’s so-called Estado Novo (“The New State”), colonial legislation distinguished between indigenous, indigenous, and non-indigenous, não indigenous, where there were special rules for how the natives could achieve the status of assimilated, i.e. no longer “native”. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how TP can stand for East Timor.

Only those who were classified as non-native could become Portuguese citizens and thus move freely in the territory, release certain tax burdens and obtain voting rights. The only allowed party was the state- carrying União Nacional. Under this system, a resident against Portugal was created loyal elite, who exercised a strong control over their subordinates. The security police, PIDE, also acted as an important element of the control.

The period of political activity that began in April 1974 ended with the invasion of Indonesia on December 7, 1975. The administrative system of thirteen districts created during the Portuguese period was taken over and reinforced by Indonesia with military presence at all levels.

Following Indonesia’s 1999 decision to allow East Timor’s people to determine their political status themselves, the UN established an organization, UNAMET, with the task of overseeing a referendum. After UNAMET was forced to leave East Timor during the unrest following the vote, the UN appointed a military force, INTERFET, and a new administrative organization, UNTAET, to ensure calm and arrange elections for a legislative assembly and presidential election.

According to the constitution established since 2002, the executive political power is shared between the president and the prime minister and parliament on the one hand, with the emphasis placed on the latter. The constitution is largely based on the Mozambique and Portugal constitutions. Parliament has an executive and legislative power. The president is not part of the government and has limited powers, apart from the role of commander-in-chief and the possibility of vetoing certain legislative proposals. However, such a veto can, in turn, be annulled by an absolute majority within Parliament.

On a number of points, East Timor’s constitution is linked to the UN Declaration on Human Rights, not least with regard to women’s rights. The latter is a result of the political struggle that the country’s women have waged in parallel with the struggle for national independence.

Portuguese and Tetun, the largest local language, are, according to the constitution, official languages, while Indonesian (Bahasa) and English were defined as working languages.


The Fretilin Party (Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente, ‘East Timor’s Revolutionary Liberation Front’) received 55 seats out of a total of 88 in the legislative assembly in August 2001. According to the Constitution established in May 2002, the executive political power is shared between the president and on the other hand, the Prime Minister and Parliament, with the emphasis placed on the latter.

In April 2002, Xanana Gusmão was elected East Timor’s first president. Fretilin’s Mari Alkatiri (born 1949) became prime minister.

The presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 were both marked by the 2006 crisis and by contradictions between the Fretilin government party and other parties, notably Conselho Nacional da Resistencia Timorense, CNRT (Timor’s National Resistance Council). Politically unbounded Jos谷 Ramos-Horta took the post, while Xanana Gusmão became prime minister as leader of a coalition of three opposition parties.

Ramos-Horta announced presidential elections until March 2012 and himself ran for re-election. However, he lost already in the first round of elections. In the second round, the former guerrilla leader and defense chief Taur Matan Ruak (born 1956) won.

The July parliamentary elections in the same year resulted in a meager win for CNRT, whose leader Xanana Gusmão became prime minister. To counter political divide and create stability in the country, in February 2015, CNRT and Fretilin formed a coalition and Gusmão handed over the Prime Minister’s post to Fretilins Rui de Ara迆jo (born 1964).

In the March 2017 presidential election, former guerrilla soldier Fretilin’s party leader Francisco Guterres was backed not only by his own party but also by the party CNRT. Guterres got 57 percent of the vote in the first round. He thus obtained the majority required to win and took office on May 20.

The presidential election was the first to be held in the country without the support of UN peacekeeping forces who left the country in 2012.

However, the parliamentary elections in July 2017 did not produce a clear result. After lengthy negotiations, Fretilin succeeded in forming a minority government together with two smaller parties. The Prime Minister became Mari Alkatiri for the second time. CNRT formed an opposition alliance with the third largest party, Partidu Libertasaun Popular, PLP (People’s Freedom Party), led by former President Taur Matan Ruak, as well as Xanana Gusmão’s arms carrier during the liberation struggle against the Indonesian occupation.


A comprehensive reform of the judiciary began in East Timor in 2002 in connection with the country’s independence. The process takes place with the support of the UN. review of the legislation, construction of a new court system and training of domestic lawyers. The judiciary has three levels: local courts, three district courts and an appellate court.

The new constitution from 2002 contains a ban on the death penalty, but the death penalty was abolished as early as 1999. In connection with the country’s independence, a special so-called reconciliation commission was formed, whose task was to gather testimony on various disputes. The Commission then organized local conflict resolution processes tailored to the country’s legal culture. Once it has been agreed on how to resolve a local conflict, the matter is forwarded to a district court to ratify the agreement. This procedure hopes to reduce the different kinds of contradictions that exist. The Commission submitted its final report in 2008 with the aim of gradually transferring the conflict resolution to the new judicial system.