Timor Leste’s New President: Polarisation Defused or Postponed? by Max Lane

On 20 May, Dr Jose Ramos Horta was sworn in as the new president of Timor Leste. The solid win by the president-elect, however, does not solve the internecine conflicts between parties at different ends of the political spectrum.

Dr Horta bagged his victory despite the 19 March presidential elections seeing a crowded field of 16 candidates. To an external observer, Timor’s politics can be confusing, given the huge number of political parties and their shifting associations. Dr Horta does not belong to any party but was nominated by the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT). He won 46.6 per cent of the votes, more than double the 22.1 per cent of his nearest rival, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres from Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN). As neither received more than 50 per cent in the first round, a second round was held a month later and Horta won 62.1 per cent of the vote against Mr Luolo’s 37.9 per cent.”

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