Politics of East Timor

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Coat of arms of East Timor.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Timor Leste

Politics of East Timor takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential1 parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of East Timor is the head of government and the President of East Timor exercises the functions of head of state. East Timor has a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The East Timorese constitution was modelled on that of Portugal, though the president is less powerful than his Portuguese counterpart. The country is still in the process of building its administration and governmental institutions.

Executive branch

Government Palace in Dili

The Head of state of the East Timorese republic is the president, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and whose executive powers are somewhat limited by the constitution, though he is able to veto legislation which can be overridden by the parliament. Following elections, the president appoints as the prime minister, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition. As head of government the prime minister presides over the cabinet.

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Taur Matan Ruak Independent 20 May 2012
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction 8 August 2007

Legislative branch

Parliament of East Timor

The unicameral Timorese National Parliament (Parlamento Nacional) has 65 members elected by proportional representation (d'Hondt method) for a five-year term. The number of seats can vary from a minimum of 52 to a maximum of 65, though it exceptionally had 88 members during its first term which also exceptionally lasted six years – from 2001 to 2007 – this was because the constitution provided that the 88-member Constitutional Assembly would become the first parliament after the constitution entered into force in 2002.

The East Timorese constitution was modelled on that of Portugal. The country is still in the process of building its administration and governmental institutions.

Political parties and elections

Parties and coalitions in East Timorese parliament 2008
e • d Summary of the 09 April and 09 May 2007 East Timorese presidential election results
Candidates – Parties 1st round 2nd round
Votes % Votes %
José Ramos-Horta Independent 88,102 21.81 285,835 69.18
Francisco Guterres Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) 112,666 27.89 127,342 30.82
Fernando de Araújo Democratic Party (PD) 77,459 19.18
Francisco Xavier do Amaral Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT) 58,125 14.39
Lúcia Lobato Social Democratic Party (PSD) 35,789 8.86
Manuel Tilman Association of Timorese Heroes (KOTA) 16,539 4.09
Avelino Coelho da Silva Socialist Party of Timor (PST) 8,338 2.06
João Viegas Carrascalão Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) 6,928 1.72
Total votes 403,941 100.00 413,177 100.00
Source: East Timor Election Commission website
e • d Summary of the 30 June 2007 East Timorese parliamentary election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Frente Revolucionária do Timor-Leste Independente) 120,592 29.02 21
National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (Congresso Nacional da Reconstrução Timorense) 100,175 24.10 18
65,358 15.73 11
Democratic Party (Partido Democrático) 46,946 11.30 8
National Unity Party (Partido Unidade Nacional) 18,896 4.55 3
Democratic Alliance (Aliança Democratica)
13,294 3.20 2
National Unity of Timorese Resistance (União Nacional Democrática de Resistência Timorense) 13,247 3.19 2
Timorese Nationalist Party (Partido Nasionalista Timorense) 10,057 2.42 0
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Party (Partido Democratika Republica de Timor) 7,718 1.86 0
Republican Party (Partidu Republikanu) 4,408 1.06 0
Christian Democratic Party (Partido Democrata Cristão) 4,300 1.03 0
Socialist Party of Timor (Partido Socialista de Timor) 3,982 0.96 0
Timorese Democratic Union (União Democrática Timorense) 3,753 0.90 0
Millennium Democratic Party (Partido Milénio Democrático) 2,878 0.69 0
Total (turnout 80.5%) 415,604 100.00 65
Source: CNE

Judicial branch

The Supreme Court of Justice has one judge appointed by the National Parliament and the rest appointed by the Superior Council for the Judiciary.

Administrative divisions

Map of the districts of East Timor.

East Timor is divided into thirteen administrative districts:

The districts are subdivided into 65 subdistricts, 443 sucos and 2,336 towns, villages and hamlets. [1] PDF (213 KiB)

External links


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