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East Timor's Political System

East Timor became an independent state in 2002. The constitution of 2002 was drafted according to Portuguese examples, and the country is a democratic, unified state, presidential republic. The president is elected in direct elections for five years with the possibility of one re-election. The president has primarily ceremonial functions, but is formally military commander and can also veto laws and dissolve parliament. The president has an advisory national council. Legislative authority has been added to a single-chamber parliament. It has between 52 and 65 members, elected for five years. The first parliamentary elections were held in 2007, the 88-member constitutional assembly served as parliament in 2002–07. The government is accountable to Parliament; the president appoints the prime minister. The political system is under development.

Government and Politics of East Timor

Administrative division

Administrative division. East Timor is divided into 13 administrative districts. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of TP and its meanings of East Timor.


From 2002, a temporary law came into force, prepared by the UN. The transition to civil law has been going on since, and a civil and criminal code was introduced in 2006, based on Portuguese examples. A Supreme Court was established in 2006, the leader appointed by parliament.

East Timor's defense

East Timor's total force is 2280 active personnel in the army, of which 80 are personnel in a sea component. The army is very easily equipped. The sea component has seven patrol boats, and a small air component has one light aircraft.


In 2001, a new East Timorese defense force was established which gradually took over the peacekeeping tasks of the UN Transitional Administration and the UN Peacekeeping Force (UNMISET). This was withdrawn in 2005.

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