Original Citation: 2004 ETLJ 9 AN OVERVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION DRAFTING PROCESS IN EAST TIMOR by Alipio Baltazar
Most East Timorese rejected the special autonomy package offered by Indonesia during the popular consultation (referendum) that took place on August 30, 1999. Militia groups, supported by Indonesia’s military, burned, looted and generally destroyed property of the East Timorese people. Many people fled to the mountains while others were forced to cross the boarder to West Timor. Several weeks later, the International Force for East Timor (Interfet) came to restore order and security.
After security was restored, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a Resolution establishing the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) , in which UNTAET was endowed with overall responsibility for the administration of East Timor and was empowered to exercise all legislative and executive authority, including administration of justice, to provide security and maintain law and order throughout the territory of East Timor .
The Regulation on the authority of the transitional administration in East Timor, established the obligation of the Transitional Administrator to consult and cooperate closely with representatives of the East Timorese people in exercising legislative, executive and judicial functions. The Transitional Administrator was given the power to administer certain property; to enact regulations; to appoint and remove personnel performing functions in the civil administration. All persons undertaking public duties were required to observe internationally recognized human rights standards .
In December 1999, the National Consultative Council (NCC) was established as a consultative mechanism ensuring the participation of the East Timorese people in the decision-making process during the period of the transitional administration in East Timor . The NCC consisted of fifteen members; seven representatives from the National Council of East Timorese Resistance (CNRT), three representatives froim political groups outside the CNRT (Fretilin, UDT, KOTA), one representative from the Roman Catholic Church and four UNTAET representatives, including the Transitional Administrator who chaired the NCC.
The NCC provided advice and policy recommendations on executive and legislative matters to the Transitional Administrator. According to the regulation establishing the NCC, efforts should be made for policy recommendations to be adopted by consensus without prejudicing the final authority of the Transitional Administrator. In addition, the regulation called for the creation of a consultation mechanism with civil society groups including religious groups, women and youth.
In July 2000, the National Council (NC) was established to replace the National Consultative Council. The NC was formed with the aim of creating a legislative mechanism that further enhanced the participation of the East Timorese people in the decision-making process . The Council was given the power to initiate, modify, amend and recommend draft regulations. It functioned as East Timor’s quasi-legislature.
The NC was composed of representatives of relevant organizations from the East Timorese civil society. The National Council consisted of thirty three East Timorese members; which included seven representatives from CNRT, three representatives from political parties outside of CNRT, one representative from the Roman Catholic Church, Moslem, Protestant faiths, representatives from each of the thirteen districts, seven civil society organizations and three UNTAET staff .
On December 12, 2000 as a result of demands of the East Timorese to be given more authority to act, the CNRT proposed a political transition calendar to accelerate the transitional process, and more actively involve the East Timorese in the transitional administration government . Therefore, the Transitional Administrator, Sergio de Mello, formed the National Council and a parallel cabinet. The National Council was composed of East Timorese, while the parallel cabinet included international UNTAET staff. The National Council was dissolved on July 15, 2001.
The proposed political transition calendar included steps to the creation of a Constituent Assembly (CA) entrusted with the task of drafting and adopting a Constitution. The steps were as follows: political party registration; civil registration; publication of an electoral law; establishment of an independent electoral commission; creation of national constitutional commissions; launch of a civic education program; start of the electoral campaign for the Constituent Assembly; publication of official results; swearing- in ceremony of Members of the Constituent Assembly; proclamation East Timor’s Constitution and transformation of the Constituent Assembly into the National Parliament by December 15, 01.
The National Council referred the task of reviewing details of the calendar’s implementation to the Political Affairs Unit of UNTAET. The Political Affairs Unit felt it was necessary and important to conduct a consultation process in order to present recommendations on the implementation of the transitional process to the Council. On December 23, 2000, the Political Affairs Unit sent a letter to all political parties, district administrators, NGOs, members of cabinet and National Council and church representatives to stimulate debate on the political transition calendar.
From 18 through 23 January, 2001, the Political Affairs Unit held a number of public hearings. The outcome of the public hearings showed that most of civil society organizations (such as SAHE, LAIFET, Human Right Commission, Yayasan Hak) and political parties (Apodeti, PDM, UDC PST, KOTA) objected to the transitional calendar, arguing a lack of preparation to participate in the process.
Prior to the consultation process, the Political Affairs Unit benefited from extensive oral briefings of constitutional and electoral experts. Issues such as the type of electoral system, number of constituent assembly members, and the period of time for completion of the constituent assembly mandate were exhaustively analyzed during a two month period. As a result of the consultation process a Regulation on the election of a Constituent Assembly was adopted.
B.THE ELECTION OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The election of the Constituent Assembly took place on August 30, 2001. There were sixteen political parties contesting the election: Fretilin, UDT, Apodeti-Pro-Referendum, KOTA, PTT, ASDT, PDM, Parentil, PL, PDC, UDC, PPT, PSD, PD, PNT, and PST . With the exception of PDM, Parentil, PTT and Apodeti-pro-Referendum, the remaining twelve political parties won seat(s) in the Constituent Assembly. As established by the regulation on the election of a Constituent Assembly, the body was composed of eighty-eight democratically elected representatives . There were thirteen district representatives elected to represent every district constituency and seventy-five national representatives elected by a proportional system. The implementation of this system was aimed at guaranteeing that a broad cross-section of East Timorese society would be represented in the CA.
The mandate given to the CA included the preparation of a Constitution for an independent and democratic East Timor; adoption of a Constitution only by affirmative vote of at least sixty representatives of the eighty-eight representatives elected and adoption of a Constitution within ninety days. It was also stipulated that, in its deliberations, the CA should give consideration to the results of the consultations conducted by Constitutional Commissions. In addition, the CA was charged with the task of considering, by an affirmative vote of the simple majority of the CA, draft regulations submitted to it by the Transitional Administrator. The regulation also established that the CA should become the legislature of the country, if so provided in the Constitution.
C.THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMISSIONS
A Constitutional Commission (CC) was established in each of the thirteen administrative districts of East Timor to solicit the views of the people on the future Constitution . In fulfilling its mandate, each CC should take note of civil society initiatives carried out in the district in relation to constitutional issues and coordinate with them to ensure that the people were informed on the constitutional development process .
Each CC was composed of between five and seven members appointed by the Transitional Administrator; all of them East Timorese. The members of each CC were selected from a broad section of civil society organizations. Their main tasks were to inform the people in each of the concerned sub-districts about the constitutional consultation process and to conduct and facilitate public hearings in each sub-district.
There were two phases in the selection process; nomination and appointment of candidates. Candidates were nominated after a consultation process conducted by each District Administration in collaboration with the District Advisory Council (DAC) was completed. Each District Administration submitted a list of 10 candidates to a selection panel. Candidates should be respected people in the community, show willingness and commitment to serve as well as impartiality and ability to conduct public hearings as well as be fluent in Tetum and Indonesian with good communication skills.
The Constitutional Commissions were charged with conducting at least one public hearing in each of the administrative sub-districts of every district. The constitutional consultation process was organized to take place in five phases: public information campaign to inform all East Timorese about the public hearings; training of constitutional advisors, commission members and administration staff; constitutional consultation preparatory phase; public hearings and reporting.
The Constitutional Commissions conducted more than 200 public hearings in each of East Timor’s 65 sub-districts in which around 38,000 East Timorese participated between the launch of the COnstitutional Commissions on March 15 and July 14, 2001.
After the public hearings took place, constitutional reports were sent to the Transitional Administrator who presented them to the CA on the first day of sitting. Unfortunately, the Thematic Commissions of the CA did not discuss the reports, which were meant to feed the CA with the opinions of the people on the future constitution during the debates. Although members of the Constitutional Commissions requested to participate in the sessions and brief members of the CA on the outcomes of the public hearings; the majority party Fretilin rejected their proposal arguing a lack of legitimacy of the Commissions – it was not an elected body.
D.THE CIVIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
A Civic Education Campaign was initiated to disseminate information regarding the election of the Constituent Assembly. The Civic Education Unit of UNTAET (Civic Ed) conducted the campaign in cooperation with civil society organizations such as NGO FORUM, the Women’s network REDE, CNRT and Students Solidarity Council. A team composed of four East Timorese and two international staff was established in each District.
The civic education program was intended to inform East Timorese on a wide range of issues such as democracy, freedom and human rights among others. However, due to the time constraint the campaign focused mostly on voter education. Given the short timeframe, Civic Ed was not able to disseminate information throughout the country and matters related to the process of election of the CA and of drafting the constitution took priority. As a result, important topics like the decision on the transformation of the CA into the first independent Parliament of the country were not communicated to the people. Criticism and widespread public outrage arose when the announcement was made once the constitution was drafted. Only the political elite had access to all the information during the entire transitional process.
E.THE CONSTITUTION DRAFTING EXCERCISE
The Constituent Assembly was established in September 15, 2001. In its inaugural session the CA elected its Speaker and the Transitional Administrator handed over the constitutional reports including the recommendations of thousands of East Timorese on the issues they wanted to be considered by the Constituent Assembly when drafting the constitution.
Although twelve political parties won sits in the CA, Fretilin won fifty-five of the eighty-eight sits and became the dominant political group. When the moment came to discuss the model of constitution - five parties presented draft texts (Fretilin, UDT, PSD, KOTA, PPT). Finally, the Fretilin draft constitution was used as the base text for discussion .
Considering the short timeframe and the variety and complexity of constitutional topics to be analyzed, four Thematic Commissions were created: Thematic Commission I (on Rights, Duties, and Liberties/Defense and National Security); Thematic Commission II (on Organization of the State/Organization of Political Power); Thematic Commission III (on Economic Social and Financial Affairs) and Thematic Commission IV (on Fundamental Principles/Guarantees, Amendment of the Constitution/Final and Transitional Provisions). Also, a Systematization and Harmonization Commission was formed to organize and harmonize the drafts produced by every Thematic Commission.
At the same time, a Specialized Legislative Commission was created to analyze, study and approve regulations submitted by the Transitional Administrator.
In order to complete adoption of the constitution within 90 days, the Thematic Commissions were requested to finalize their drafts by October 30, 2001. However, some of the commissions only finished on November 12, 2001. The CA realized that such a complex task could not be completed in such a short period of time and an extension of another 90 days was approved.
F.PUBLIC CONSULTATION PROCESSES
Civil society organizations and other institutions were invited to participate in a number of public hearings organized by the Thematic Commissions. However, the effectiveness of these activities had been questioned since many of these organizations complained that the Commissions did not seriously consider their advice and opinions during their deliberations.
The organization of a Public Consultation was established in the Rules of Procedure of the Constituent Assembly with the consensus of all political parties. Once the CA approved the first draft of the constitution on February 9, 2001 the plenary of the CA started discussing the timeframe for the public consultation. Some of the minority parties (KOTA, PD, PSD, PST, UDT, PDC) proposed that the public consultation should take place during a month between March and early April 2002. However, the majority party Fretilin and ASDT rejected this date and suggested a one week consultation starting as early as February 25, 2002. Finally, Fretilin’s proposal was passed.
The Constituent Assembly debated the methodology for obtaining data and conducting public hearings during two weeks. A scientific formula for collecting the data proposed by PD, PSD and UDT was rejected by Fretilin and ASDT, which were of the opinion that the public consultation should take place through briefing audiences and questions/answers. The information gathered in every District was compiled in a Report that was submitted to the Systematization and Harmonization Commission (SHC) who produced a general report summarizing the recommendations made by each district as well as by many institutions . Once all district teams revised the report, it was submitted to the political parties for analysis before the final approval by the Plenary.
During the consultation, each district team held meetings with the local people for a week to listen and gather their recommendations and views on the draft constitution. Given the limited availability of time, late distribution and dissemination of information, often people were not informed in advance to the public meetings, not informed of the contents of the draft constitution, and so people were not prepared to discuss substantive matters of the constitution. Another constraint faced was the fact that the original constitution was written in Portuguese making it difficult for most of the East Timorese people who speak Tetum and/or Indonesian to understand the text. Translations were made to Tetum and Indonesian, but prior to the consultations some districts (Lautem) were only given Portuguese versions of the constitution.
Leaders like Bishop Belo and President Xanana expressed their concern with the short period given for public consultation. President Xanana wrote to Mr. Kofi Anan requesting an extension of time for the public consultation. The lack of a scientific methodology for analyzing the information gathered raised the concern that political parties might try to influence or manipulate the opinions and views of people. In this regard, the Deputy-Speaker of the CA Mr. Arlindo Marcal said, “ it will not make a difference if just one person is objecting to a provision in the constitution, but if the same issue would be raised in all districts, then CA members will take note of that point and discuss it later during the plenary session after returning to Dili” .
As a result of the public consultation forty-five amendments to the draft constitution were recommended by the SHC. Only eight recommendations from the East Timorese people and thirteen from different organizations were adopted for revision by the Plenary. There was a general perception that many suggestions made by the people were neglected by the Constituent Assembly. Also, attempts by some minority parties (UDT, PSD, PD, PDC, PST) to advancethe concerns of the people during the final debates did not succeed.
The most polemic issues discussed during the consultation process were related to the following provisions of the Constitution: Article 1 Section (2) Independence Day, 13(1) Official Languages, 17 Equality of Women and Men, 15(1,2) National Flag, 39(3) Family, Marriage and Maternity, 42(2) Freedom of Demonstration, 146 National Defence and Security, 150 Abstract Review of Constitutionality and 167 Transformation of the CA into a Parliament.
Among the twenty-one amendment recommendations the CA adopted four; nearly all of them came from institutions rather than from the public. The final approval of the Constitution took place on March 22, 02 with 65 votes in favor, 14 against and 1 abstention.
Most East Timorese people felt that political decision-making about the transitional process only took place at the level of the political elite. East Timorese people had limited involvement in the transitional administration itself. A National Council was established in July 2000 as East Timor’s quasi-legislature but East Timorese ministers complained that it gave them very little power to act independently.
More than one year of UNTAET administration passed before it was pushed by CNRT in December 2000 to come up with a clear calendar to lead East Timor toward independence. UNTAET took into account the CNRT proposal for a transitional calendar, and thereafter implemented some essential recommendations such as the election of a Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution, the creation of constitutional commissions, and the establishment of a civic education program.
When UNTAET launched the programs for establishing a constitutional commission and civic education campaign for the election of the CA, East Timorese gladly welcomed these programs because the officers of the programs were mostly East Timorese people. The programs coordinated closely with civil society organizations and positively affected the sense of participation of East Timorese in the transitional process, at least initially. They gave East Timorese a better sense of their rights and obligations living in a democracy. During the implementation of these programs, particularly the constitutional commissions, East Timorese looked forward to having their opinions heard in the drafting of the constitution. They expected the CA to draft a constitution reflecting their aspirations but these expectations were not truly realized for the reasons discussed.
The CA and thematic committees rarely used the reports of the constitutional commission in its deliberations. The members of constitutional commissions were initially pessimistic that the CA would not read their reports, which is why they requested to participate in the sessions and brief members of the CA on the outcome of the public hearings. But the majority party Fretilin rejected their proposal arguing that the commissions lacked legitimacy because they were not elected bodies.
In general, the constitutional drafting process did not inspire the confidence of the people because the work of the commissions was largely wasted and in many respects the constitution did not reflect the expectations of the people on issues which they understood and felt passionately about such as language, Independence Day, Family Marriage and Maternity, Freedom of Demonstration, National Defense and Security, Abstract Review of Constitution, and the transformation of CA into Parliament.
POLITICAL PARTIES IN EAST TIMOR
Introduction and Background
In 1975, there were only a handful of political parties competing for power in East Timor, most notably the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin) and The Timorese Democratic Union (UDT). Both parties were founded in 1974 while East Timor was still under Portuguese rule and they formed a coalition to achieve independence from Portugal. However, infighting and disapproval with each other’s political tendencies led to a break in the alliance. A civil war ensued that ended with the invasion and subsequent occupation by Indonesia.
Twenty-four years later, after the 1999 Popular Consultation a plethora of new and splinter parties has emerged. The following descriptions are in no way exhaustive; they are a brief introduction to the parties and personalities that are shaping East Timor’s political transformation. The parties are listed below in the order in which they appear on the ballot.
Partido Democrata Cristao/Christian Democratic Party of East Timor - PDC
One of two Christian Democrat-associated parties in East Timor. PDC is fairly conservative, with a theme of promoting “development based on Christian values”. PDC was declared in August 2000. The party initially participated in CNRT (National Council of Timorese Resistance) jointly with UDC/PDC, though UDC/PDC and PDC are now very much separate entities. PDC had several differences of opinion with CNRT, and had withdrawn from the CNRT coalition in September 2000, although the party remained a member of the Permanent Council. PDC’s national list has 73 candidates; they have one district candidate in Manufahi.
Party Leadership: Antonio Ximenes (President); Arlindo Marcal (Secretary General)
Uniao Democratica Timorense/Timorese Democratic Union - UDT
UDT was founded in May 1974, and was the first political party to be formed in East Timor following the revolution in Portugal. The party was originally very conservative—most of the founders were landholders, public servants and businessmen under the Portuguese regime—and was also strongly anticommunist. UDT initially favored an independent federation with Portugal, but later shifted to a more pro-independence stance. UDT and Fretilin issued a joint statement in 1975 calling for independence, but UDT later broke the alliance, concerned among other things about the Marxist tendencies among Fretilin members. UDT initiated a coup in August 1975, but were quickly defeated by Fretilin—most UDT members fled overseas and have remained there since. UDT was a founding member of CNRT, but broke away from the group after the CNRT congress in August 2000.
UDT has 65 national candidates, and has fielded district candidates in 9 districts: Ainaro, Lautem, Viqueque, Dili, Liquiça, Oecussi, Ainaro, Manufahi and Ermera.
Party Leadership: Joao Carrascalao (President, former Minister for Infrastructure)
Partido Democratico/Democratic Party - PD
Founded in June 2001, this new party is formed from the core of the student resistance movement, Renetil, and the CNRT. The party offers its resistance credentials as a choice for the younger generation. The candidate list of PD includes many former CNRT district officials. PD offers itself as a new alternative to the political groups of the past who might have brought conflict. PD wants to build a democracy based on “reconciliation and mutual respect” with other political parties. The party claims that over 80% of CNRT subdistrict chiefs have joined the ranks of PD.
PD has 73 national candidates and district candidates in all districts except Dili.
Party Leadership: Fernando Araujo (President)
Associacao Popular Democratica de Timor/Popular Democratic Association of Timor/ Pro Referendum - Apodeti Pro-Refendo
The party was founded in 1974, proclaiming support of integration into Indonesia. Led by Frederico Santos Costa, the party initially received a lot of support from Indonesia, though its base of support within East Timor was always small. At the CNRT congress in August 2000, the party announced that it accepted the results of the 1999 referendum, and would support independence and democracy from then on. Apodeti adopted the “pro-referendum” addition at this time, and has plans to eventually change the party’s name to the Liberal Democratic Party of Timor, or PDL. Apodeti was the last party to submit its application to the IEC for registration for the elections.
Apodeti Pro-Referendum has 15 national candidates and one district candidate in Viqueque.
Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente/Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor - Fretilin
Fretilin was founded in September 1974, having evolved from the Social Democratic Association of Timor (ASDT). Fretilin represented a broad range of views and was committed to complete independence from the Portuguese. The party undertook to develop a national structure and social campaign that drew on all sectors of the population and enabled it to build up a strong grassroots following which exists to this day. Following the failed coalition with UDT, Fretilin declared East Timor’s independence on November 28, 1975. Fretilin, and its armed wing Falintil, played a key role in the struggle for independence. Although Fretilin signed the CNRT Magna Carta in 1998, they chose not to join the Permanent Council in 2000. In its 2001 Electoral Statement, Fretilin underlined the central role it played in bringing independence to East Timor. The Statement also outlines the main goals of Fretilin in the areas of peace and prosperity, national unity, justice, education, health, and the economy. Fretilin held its party congress in July, just before the beginning of the campaign period.
Fretilin has 75 candidates on its national list and candidates in all districts except Oecussi. Fretilin has representative offices in all districts.
Party Leadership: Lu Olo (President); Mari Alkatiri
Klibur Oan Timor Asuwain/Association of Timorese Heroes or Sons of the Mountain Warriors - KOTA
Kota was formed in 1974 from the Popular Association of Monarchists of Timor, a collection of several liurais or local kings. At the time, Kota had a pro-integrationist position, which was used by the Indonesians to support the claim that a majority of East Timorese parties supported annexation by Indonesia. In 1998, Kota rejected calls for autonomy and shifted to a pro-independence position. This small party joined CNRT and was represented on the Permanent Council. Kota emphasizes the importance of Timorese culture and traditions, and wants to bring cultural practices into line with international standards of democracy and human rights.
Kota has 75 candidates on its national list and district candidates in 8 districts (Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto, Dili, Aileu, Liquica, Ainaro and Bobonaro).
Party Leadership: Leao dos Reis Amaral (President, not active), Clementino dos Reis Amaral (Vice President)
Partido Republika Nacional Timor Leste/Republican National Party of East Timor - PARENTIL
Parentil was founded in February 2001 by former members of the East Timor Student Solidarity Council. Parentil want to offer an alternative to the older parties. This is one of two parties that did not sign the Pact of National Unity in July.
Parentil has 55 national candidates and no district candidates.
Party Leadership: Flaviano Pereira (President)
Partido Nasionalista Timorense/Timorese National Party - PNT
Founded in Dili in July 1999 with a pro-autonomy stance, but offering a “third way” policy between CNRT and Indonesia, PNT supported the idea of autonomy within Indonesia as a starting point for possible eventual independence. Following the popular consultation, PNT accepted the result of the ballot and recognizes the role of UNTAET in East Timor. PNT held a seat on the National Council. The party’s president, Abilio Araujo, is not presently resident in East Timor. Initially a Fretilin member (he was head of the External Delegation), he was thrown out of the party because of his connections to Indonesian military and business people. PNT is the other party that did not sign the Pact of National Unity.
PNT has 49 national candidates and no district candidates.
PNT is represented in Dili by Alianca Araujo, the Vice President and Abilio’s sister.
Partido Trabalhista Timorense/Timorese Labor Party (PTT)
The party was founded in 1974 by Paulo Freitas da Silva and Albano and Alpidio Abrao Martins. Trabalhista favored independence, but only in stages, and wanted to maintain links with Portugal. Party President Paulo Freitas wrote to the Australian government in 1975, requesting Australian military assistance, and allegedly East Timor’s integration into Australia. In 1998, PTT rejected Indonesia’s offer of autonomy and called for a referendum. The party was a member of CNRT; Vice President Angela Freitas, Paul’s daughter, was an outspoken member of the National Council. PTT has called for a delay in the elections, stating that the country needs more time to prepare.
PTT has 33 national candidates and district candidates in 5 districts (Baucau, Manatuto, Dili, Ainaro and Manufahi).
Partai Demokratik Maubere/Maubere Democratic Party - PDM
Founded in October 2000 in Dili, this party is made up of several former student activists, and appears to have links with the former Apodeti. The word “maubere”, meaning “man of the people” in Tetun, is a term coined by Fretilin in the 1970s which now has strong nationalist connotations.
PDM has listed 54 candidates on its national list, and 4 district candidates in Lautem, Dili, Ainaro and Manufahi.
Party Leadership: Paulo Pinto (President)
Partido Social Democrata/Social Democratic Party of East Timor – PSD
Founded in September 2000 by former East Timorese governor, Mario Carrascalao, the party offers itself as moderate central party–an alternative for the generation that did not participate in the political conflicts of 1975. PSD has attracted followers from both Fretilin and UDT, and there has been much anticipation of what the party might bring to the political scene as a moderate group. At the launch of PSD, the party released a founding statement, which will form the basis of the party’s constitution and policies. PSD emphasizes the importance of national unity and intends to incorporate much of CNRT’s national unity plans into its own policies. The party also places a priority on education and health matters. PSD has 3 regional coordinators and has committees on women, youth, and labor, among others. PSD was a member of CNRT (Mario Carrascalao was Vice President of CNRT). PSD announced that it aims to win 30 seats in the Constituent Assembly.
PSD lists 74 national candidates and has district candidates in all districts except Dili and Manufahi.
Party Leadership: Mario Carrascalao (President); Leandro Isaac (Vice President).
Partido Democrata-Cristao de Timor/Christian Democratic Party of Timor - UDC/PDC
The party was founded in Portugal in March 1998, and is a co-founder of CNRT. As a strong proponent of CNRT, UDC/PDC pointedly refrained from beginning political activities beyond those already sanctioned by CNRT. The party is fairly well-organized at the national level—there is a national congress and national council, and several administrative committees, including youth, women and labor. The national leadership stresses the CNRT idea of the need for a government of national unity, and UDC/PDC policies are based on the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
UDC/PDC has 74 candidates on its national list and district candidates in Baucau, Ainaro and Bobonaro.
Party Leadership: Vicente Guterres (President)
Partido do Povo de Timor/Timorese People’s Party - PPT
PPT was formed in November 2000. The PPT president, Jacob Xavier, believes that he is the rightful King of Portugal and one of the party’s main platform positions is to reclaim the money that Xavier alleges Portugal is hiding from him. The party also plans to develop a banking system with two banks–one for the liurai (kings) and one for the rest of the population.
PPT has 71candidates on its national list and 9 district candidates in Lautem, Manatuto, Dili, Aileu, Cova Lima, Liquica, Oecussi, Ainaro and Manufahi.
Partido Socialista de Timor/Timorese Socialist Party - PST
Founded in 1991 in Indonesia, PST evolved from the associations of East Timorese student activists in Indonesia, and it drew its early support mainly from the students and labor groups that were based there. PST was the first party to become active again in East Timor following the August 1999 popular consultation. The current membership of the party is mostly youth (not necessarily students), but also includes the core left-wing from Fretilin and some former Falintil members. The party has its headquarters in Dili, from where it conducts the training of new members (new members are required to take a political education course). The party has a well-defined structure, including a political bureau, a central committee, and commissions to coordinate labor, youth and women. Primarily concerned with the welfare of farmers and workers, the party has set up coffee and corn cooperatives. The PST candidate list for the national race is split 50-50 between men and women for the first 26 names on the list.
PST has a total of 75 national candidates and district candidates in Dili and Liquica.
Party Leadership: Pedro da Costa (President); Avelino Coelho (Secretary General)
Associacao Social-Democrata Timorense/Social Democratic Association of Timor - ASDT
ASDT was formed in April 2001 by Francisco Xavier. He was the original president of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (DRET), and was a founder of Fretilin, but then got thrown out for his negotiations with the Indonesians, particularly the military. He has been formally reaccepted by Fretilin, but decided not to rejoin the party. Xavier hopes to see the original DRET government restored, and wants the original constitution to be redrafted, rather than a completely new document being written. The party takes its name from the organization that preceded Fretilin.
ASDT has 73 national candidates and district candidates in Manatuto, Dili and Bobonaro.
Liberal Party - PL
Formed in May 2001, PL has its roots in Fitun, a youth resistance organization. The party hopes to win support from young people who were active in the resistance movement.
PL has 32 national candidates and 5 district candidates in Baucau, Viqueque, Dili, Liquica and Oecussi.
Party Leadership: Armando Jose (President)
Conselho Popular pela Defesa da Republica Democratica de Timor Leste/Popular Council for the Defense of the Democratic Republic of East Timor - CPD-RDTL
The main objective of this group is the restoration of the original Democratic Republic of East Timor (DRET), which was declared by Fretilin on November 28, 1975. CPD-RDTL is opposed to the entire political transition process and those organizations that are involved in it, including the United Nations and all political parties (although they share some political ideologies with a few parties, such as ASDT and PNT). CPD-RDTL asserts that there is no need for a Constituent Assembly because the DRET already has a constitution. The group uses the DRET national flag as its own, as well as the national anthem. The raising of the flag by CPD-RDTL has provoked some negative reactions from other parties. CPD-RDTL are not registered as a political party and will not be competing in the August elections. Cristiano da Costa serves as the group’s spokesperson.
Presidential Candidates 2002
José Alexandre “Xanana” Gusmao
Xanana Gusmao is widely regarded as a hero of the Timorese resistance movement. Born in Laleia, Manatuto district in 1946, Xanana received his education at the seminary in Dare. After leaving the seminary in 1962, he worked in a variety of jobs, including as a civil servant in the Forest and Agriculture Ministry.
In 1975, Xanana joined the pro-independence party, Fretilin and later became a member of the Central Committee. After the Indonesian invasion in December 1975, Xanana escaped with other Fretilin leaders to the mountains. He eventually became the leader of Fretilin and its armed wing, Falintil. In 1987, Xanana and others tried to restructure the resistance movement and formed the National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM), an umbrella organization of groups who opposed Indonesian rule. Believing that the independence struggle transcended political affiliations, Xanana left Fretilin and announced that Falintil would be a non-partisan national force.
In November 1992, Xanana was captured and arrested in Dili, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in April the following year. In early 1994 after much international pressure, then-President Suharto of Indonesia reduced Xanana’s sentence from life to 20 years imprisonment. Even from prison, Xanana continued to be a guiding force of the resistance movement. He was released from prison in September 1999, and returned to East Timor. Xanana was President of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) until its dissolution in June 2001.
Francisco Xavier do Amaral
Xavier was one of the original founders of Fretilin in 1974. When Fretilin declared the independence of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL), Xavier was named as the country’s first President. He held this position for nine days before the Indonesian invasion. For his role in the early stages of Fretilin’s development, Xavier is viewed by many as East Timor’s political godfather.
Although Xavier actively participated in the resistance movement in the early years of the struggle, he had a falling out with the Fretilin leadership and was arrested and placed in custody in 1977 after failing to attend a national meeting. He was later captured by the Indonesians and taken to Indonesia where he remained until 2000.
After his return to East Timor, Xavier do Amaral was formally reaccepted by Fretilin, but decided not to rejoin the party. Instead in April 2001, he formed the Social Democratic Association of East Timor (ASDT) and campaigned for seats in the Constituent Assembly. Xavier focused his campaign on his desire to see the original RDTL government restored. He also wanted the original 1975 constitution to be redrafted, rather than a completely new document being written. ASDT won 6 seats in the Constituent Assembly, and Xavier was chosen to be one of two Deputy Speakers of the Assembly.
The formal transfer of power from the United Nations Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET) to a new East Timorese government on May 20, 2002 marked the final step in East Timorese’s efforts to establish their own nation. In the two and a half years leading up to independence, much has been accomplished. In spite of concerns over the efficiency of UNTAET operations and its approach to capacity building, the stabilizing influences of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force and the concentrated attention of the international donor community have provided lessons and bought valuable time to rebuild and prepare for self-governance.
Most evident, however, are those things left undone or incomplete. Threats to the nascent country include poverty, unemployment and limited productivity throughout the economy, low human resource capacity, and lack of educational opportunities. According to a recent Poverty Assessment, conducted by the East Timorese National Planning and Development Agency /, more than 40% of East Timorese live on less than $0.55 per person per day. Among 41% of the poor, 32% have some schooling and 68% no schooling at all, with 49% of the population illiterate and 37% with difficulty reading. The Poverty Assessment also captured people’s perceptions of the causes of poverty, which include: an attitude of waiting for government help; weak human resources; lack of awareness, knowledge and technology; lack of or weak leadership; and no clear plan or guide for development. All of these are critical areas related to the nation's democratic development and highlight the important link between democracy and the nation's economic revitalization.
Potential points of conflict and instability within East Timor are numerous, among them an overriding concern that in the absence of a well-functioning judicial system, public confidence in the new government will break down; that the mechanisms to redress many disputes, including land disputes – an issue of vital importance – have not been established; that the foundations for democracy and stability are weak given the nation’s history; and that the lack of economic opportunities, particularly among the country’s youth, could lead to high levels of frustration and disaffection. Already, limited employment opportunities have triggered demonstrations and disturbances and there are signs of elevated crime rates. In addition, the challenges of economic growth, particularly as the UN significantly downsizes, will likely disproportionately impact women who are concentrated in the hospitality and domestic sectors. This obviously impacts their political participation as well. Furthermore, years of brutal occupation and neglect have created a legacy of suspicion and fear. Largely unfamiliar with the most basic democratic concepts of participation, responsibility and the rule of law, the average citizen is afflicted with an overriding sense of powerlessness. For some citizens, stability is the primary concern, such that they would prefer an authoritarian regime to a democracy for the first few years after East Timor’s independence. While this is the view of a minority, it highlights the fragile conditions in this nascent democracy and the importance of ensuring assistance addresses potential root causes of conflict and instability and the strengthening of democratic institutions and processes throughout the country.
The future independent government over the next five years will be dominated by the main political party, Fretilin, which won 55 of the 88 seats in the Constituent Assembly. There is growing concern regarding political will to open the process of governance in a transparent and accountable way. Many East Timorese have highlighted that the consultations around the draft constitution lacked sufficient time and did not facilitate sufficient citizen participation. On April 14, 2002, East Timorese elected Xanana Gusmao by nearly 83% of the vote, giving the President a significant popular mandate. There is concern that people’s expectations of the powers of the President and constitutional provisions which give greater authority to the parliament, could create tensions which could impede effective policy formulation and implementation at the national level. In addition, East Timorese are grappling with the establishment of a multi-lingual society which currently poses a number of development challenges.
Balancing the challenges identified above, East Timor still enjoys a number of moderating influences. While the potential for conflict exists, the fact that little conflict has occurred since the 1999 national referendum cannot be overstated. Even in light of violent political upheavals of the past, most East Timorese villages managed to govern themselves, avoiding total societal breakdown and providing the means for adjudicating disputes peacefully in the absence of formal justice. The Catholic Church is strong, providing social stability, a means for resolving conflict and constructive lessons for civic behavior. The UN Peacekeeping Force (PKF) and a UN Civilian Police (CIVPOL) contingent will remain over the next few years, following a period of gradual withdrawal. Finally, while the United Nations presence will diminish and will formally transfer power to the East Timorese on May 20, 2002, an essential cadre of technical and developmental support will remain, through both the 100 UN core stability positions funded through UN assessed funds and the proposed 200 + advisor positions identified by the Transitional Administration, which will focus on capacity building within government and be funded by the donor community. The Poverty Assessment cited above has also highlighted significant opportunities for engagement, including citizens' identification of a “strong national unity and aspiration for development”, “a new nation with strong motivation and willingness of people to work hard”, as well as a readiness to receive advice and training for capacity building. In addition, workshop papers dated April 5-6, 2002 from the National Planning Commission indicated a strong commitment to good governance and accountability by the new East Timorese government, although the mechanisms required to establish these systems are not yet clear.
Prepared for the Conference on Establishing Rule of Law and Governance in Post Conflict Societies co-organized by the Project on Justice in Times of Transition of Harvard University, Koc University, and the United Nations Association-USA. July 11-14, 2002 Istanbul, Turkey
Saturday, 19 May 2012
AN OVERVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION DRAFTING PROCESS IN EAST TIMOR
Original Citation: 2004 ETLJ 9 AN OVERVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION DRAFTING PROCESS IN EAST TIMOR by Alipio Baltazar
1. A Note on Land Rights in East Timor (Indonesian Government Regulation No 18 of 1991 on the Conversion of Land Rights in East Timor) & the Purported Suspension of Article 5 by Government Regulation No 24 of 1992