In early 2015, not long after the formation of the unprecedented national unity government between Timor-Leste’s two largest parties, the CNRT and Fretilin, senior CNRT minister Agio Pereira remarked on the country’s remarkable transition from “belligerent democracy” to consensus democracy.

In March 2017, when the two major parties supported the Fretilin candidate Francisco “Lú-Olo” Guterres for the presidency, this informal “grand coalition” seemed likely to continue. Yet three months after July’s parliamentary elections, Timor-Leste is on the precipice of a return to belligerent democracy.

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