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Timor-Leste elections 2017: more of the same?

15 Mar 2017


Politics in Timor-Leste is always engaging and colorful, and the lead-up to the 2017 presidential election on March 20 is no exception. With campaigning in full swing, the Timorese variety of consensus politics is on full display. It is a common site these days to see campaign event-bound trucks loaded with supporters of two former opposition parties—FRETILIN and CNRT—jointly waving the flags of both parties, while dressed in identical t-shirts supporting a single candidate for president.

Perhaps less of a surprise is that the anointed candidate for president is FRETILIN resistance icon, Francisco Guterres (known as Lú-Olo), since local lore here is that it is now “his turn” (a reference to the fact that most of the other iconic resistance leaders including Xanana Gusmão, Mari Alkatiri, Jose Ramos Horta, and Taur Matan Ruak have all either had a stint as president, prime minister, or both). While consensus politics thrives, individual freedom of expression, however, remains threatened.

Read the full article at The Asia Foundation

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