The parties in upcoming election contest

Courtesy of East Timor Studies, I came across this 26 page paper from Australia which summarises as simply as I can handle, the 14 parties contesting the upcoming parliamentary election – “Political Parties and Groupings of Timor-Leste”.

It is not going to tell you that much about why one should (if you could) vote for any of the parties, but it gives a short history and names important movers and shakers. I prepared a little table (below) where I doodled a bit and threw in some info. I was interested in when the parties started and also which ones seemed to be pushing a different language emphasis. (The language thing is not detailed in any way. It is just a summary of what this paper mentions on the subject. If not mentioned, nothing is put in the table.)

It was also the 1st time I looked at the current parliamentary distribution of seats. Based on round one of the presidential election, the distribution is expected to change significantly, with ASDT/PSD, PD and CNRT gaining seats at the expense of Fretilin. Who knows how much support the others have, particularly those parties established after 2002 who do not currently have parliamentary representation.

As you can see, the mnemonics (ie abbreviated name of party) make it all pretty confusing.

Party Started Current
Stated position on language Key Players
ASDT 1974 6 Tetun, Portuguese, English Xavier do Amaral
CNRT 2007   Xanana Gusmao, Agio Pereira, Dionisio Soares
Fretilin 1974 54 Tetun, Portuguese Francisco “LuOlu” Guterres, Mari Alkatiri, Estanislau da Silva
KOTA 1974 2 Tetun, Portuguese, Bahasa, English Manuel Tilman, Leao Pedro dos Reis Amaral
PD 2001 7 Tetun Mariano Sabino Lopes, Fernando “LaSama” de Araujo, Joao Boavida
PDC 2000 3   Antonio Ximenes, Rev Arlindo Marcal
PMD 2005   Ermenegildo “Kupa” Lopes, Lettu Purn, Melio de Jesus
PNT 1999 2 Tetun, Bahasa, English, Portuguese Dr. Abilio Araujo, Allanca Conceicao de Araujo
PPT 2000 1   Dr.Jacob Xavier
PR 2005 Tetun, Portuguese, English Joao Saldanha
PSD 2000 6 Tetun, Portuguese, English Mario Carrascalao, Zacarias Albano da Costa, Joao Goncalves
PST 1995? 6 Tetun, Portuguese Avelino Coelho da Silva, Nelson Correia
PUN 2006   Fernando Borges
UDT 1974 2 Portuguese Joao Carrascalao, Quiteria da Costa
Undertim 2005 Tetun, Portuguese, English, Bahasa Cornelio “L7” Gama, Cristiano da Costa

Addendum : The ALP web site is no longer hosting the PDF file mentioned above. It can now be found at :


Oecussi festival – mark your cards

The Oecussi Festival runs from 1-12 August with the main events hosted over the weekend of 3-5 August 2007 and culminating with Oecussi Day on 11 August.

During the weekend of 3rd – 5th August 2007, the main beach boulevard will be transformed into an array of art and craft markets with accompanying beach competitions, water sports, open air restaurants, traditional ceremonies, costumes, dancing and singing, nightly bonfires, fireworks and of course rock bands playing into the early hours of the morning.

This is straight from
where you can find more details on what’s happening and how to get there etc. etc.

Parliamentary election in plain english

In the first round of the presidential elections, we had candidates from 8 parties. For the parliamentary elections on 30 June, we have 14 parties contesting 65 parliamentary seats. The country is treated as one single electorate and a modified version of the d’Hondt voting system is used to allocate seats based purely on the total number of votes received by the party.

Each party puts forward a list of candidates and if the party wins 10 seats, then the top 10 candidates in the party’s list will get a seat in parliament.

There are 8 extra parties in the parliamentary election (with ASDT and PSD joining as a single entity and CNRT not really existing until recently). For their own reasons, these parties did not contest the presidential election and I will assume those parties have all been around for a while, except the newly formed CNRT party.

If you use the breakdown of votes from the 1st round presidential election, you come up with the majority of the votes (and hence seats) going to Fretilin, ASDT-PSD, PD and to wherever Ramos-Horta’s votes go. As president, Ramos-Horta probably should not indicate where his supporters should vote but it is assumed that a large proportion will vote CNRT given that Xanana endorsed Ramos-Horta as president.

In any case, no one group is likely to have a majority in parliament. So coalitions must be formed to establish a government. The presidential results seemed to indicate that given 2 choices, the vast majority of non-Fretilin supporters will not choose Fretilin. The only smaller party that clearly backed Fretilin for the second round presidential election was Manuel Tilman’s Kota party.

The ASDT and PSD parties indicated their association a while back and have formalised their coalition before the election. I read somewhere that the likely top positions in parliament might be Xanana Gusmao as president of the parliament (LuOlu’s current job), Mario Carrascalao from ASDT-PSD as Prime Minister and Xavier Amaral from ASDT-PSD as Deputy Prime Minister. That may still be speculation but that would indicate a coalition of CNRT and ASDT-PSD with the newer CNRT party giving the nod to wiser heads. Other parties will have their own ideas on what will come out of the electoral mincer.

I imagine a lot of work is being done on coalition building at the moment but we may not know much about it until after the election. PD appear to have slagged off Xanana which suggests PD may go it alone rather than form a coalition. But what happens this week may mean nothing next week.

But don’t forget the biggest de-facto coalition of all – the UN and whoever sits in government. Time for an aspirin and a good lie down.

Current security situation

With slightly less than 4 weeks to go to parliamentary elections, campaigning has started.  I have not seen any campaign rallies but there is clear evidence of activity with the spread of party posters around the place.

There have been a few deaths of late which may or may not be specifically linked to the election process.  The general situation in Dili has not changed much and the ongoing security incidents have really been going non-stop but it seems nowhere near as serious as January/February or parts of last year.

One sign of increased tensions is the number of usually young men hanging around in small groups at various locations.  It just seemed that this was up today.  Viqueque and Ermera have probably been running at a higher tension level and even Baucau has had a few problems lately.

OZ changed the travel advisory to specifically name Viqueque as an area to avoid following a couple of deaths over the weekend.  I would expect things to ebb and flow over the next 4 weeks, but Dili may not be the main problem area this time.  We’ll see.

Dili airport – byo drinks

I think I have worked out that I had a coffee at the airport coffee shop on the very last day before it closed.  It has been closed since 7th of May.  In addition, barriers have now been put up to prevent non-travelers from swarming around the entrance and exit doors, which just leaves the old coffee shop area as the only protection from rain.  And there now is an operational TV screen showing the 2 or 3 civil flight movements per day.  It has all made the airport a bit less attractive and not the low-key “see your mates off” gathering at the coffee shop.

If you haven’t had the AirNorth check-in guy come out and tell you (and all other passengers) personally that you should move on in to the departure area (I am reluctant to use the term “lounge”), you have missed something.

Confession time : When I saw some mates (L & C) off earlier in the year, they challenged me to see just how far I could get as a non-traveler (ie no ticket, passport or any special pass).  I took them on and wandered past the security check, wandered past immigration but did get scanned through the 2nd passenger-only security check.  I called it a day in the departure lounge but know I could have gone all the way to the plane door.

If you think that sounds bold, you shouldn’t.  People once wandered all over the place but I doubt you could do it now.

The Monkey Bar furniture city

I hope Ross doesn’t beat me over the head with a big stick (for speaking too early) but shortly, the old Monkey Bar premises on the road to Becora will be opening as a furniture outlet with perhaps the classiest furniture in town imported from Surabaya in Indonesia.

I have had a look and it is good stuff.  The old bar carpark is now a huge new showroom built in Timorese style.  The gardens have been spruced up and all it needs is a little cafe to make it a very attractive destination.  There’s obviously money in laundry.