Geographic and Governmental Profile of Timor-Leste

Background
The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia. However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees. Most of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country's electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999, Australian-led peacekeeping troops deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a breakdown of law and order. At Dili's request, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) deployed to Timor-Leste, and the UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. The ISF and UNMIT restored stability, allowing for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 in a largely peaceful atmosphere. In February 2008, a rebel group staged an unsuccessful attack against the president and prime minister. The ringleader was killed in the attack and most of the rebels surrendered in April 2008. Since the unsuccessful attacks the government has enjoyed one of its longest periods of post-independence stability.
Location
Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates
8 50 S, 125 55 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Southeast Asia
Area
total:
14,874 sq km
rank:
160
land:
14,874 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries
total:
228 km
border countries:
Indonesia 228 km
Coastline
706 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive fishing zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Terrain
mountainous
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point:
Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources
gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use
arable land:
8.2%
permanent crops:
4.57%
other:
87.23% (2005)
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Irrigated land
140 sq km
Natural hazards
floods and landslides are common; earthquakes; tsunamis; tropical cyclones
Environment - current issues
widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Timor comes from the Malay word for "East"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
Country name
conventional long form:
Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay)
conventional short form:
Timor-Leste
local long form:
Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
local short form:
Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former:
East Timor, Portuguese Timor
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Dili
geographic coordinates:
8 35 S, 125 36 E
time difference:
UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera (Gleno), Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence
28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of Timor-Leste's independence from Indonesia
National holiday
Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
Constitution
20 May 2002 (effective date)
Legal system
civil law system based on the Portuguese model; note - penal and civil law codes to replace the Indonesian codes were passed by Parliament and promulgated in 2009 and 2011, respectively
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Taur Matan RUAK (Jose Maria de VASCONCELOS) (since 20 May 2012); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections
head of government:
Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 8 August 2007); note - he formerly used the name Jose Alexandre GUSMAO; Vice Prime Minister Fernando "Lasama" de ARAUJO (since 8 August 2012)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers
elections:
the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); an election was held on 17 March 2012 with a run-off on 16 April 2012); following parliamentary elections, the president appoints the leader of majority party or majority coalition as the prime minister
election results:
Taur Matan RUAK elected president in 2012; percent of vote - Taur Matan RUAK 61.23%, Francisco GUTTERES 38.7%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Parliament (the number of seats can vary from 52 to 65; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms in a modified proportional representation system)
elections:
elections were held on 7 July 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
election results:
percent of vote by party - CNRT 36%, FRETILIN 30%, PD 10%, Frenti-Mudanca 3%, others 21%; seats by party - CNRT 30, FRETILIN 25, PD 8, Frenti-Mudanca 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Justice - constitution calls for one judge to be appointed by National Parliament and rest appointed by Superior Council for Judiciary; note - until Supreme Court is established, Court of Appeals is highest court
Political parties and leaders
Democratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction or CNRT [Xanana GUSMAO]; National Democratic Union of Timorese Resistance or UNDERTIM [Cornelio DA Conceicao GAMA]; National Unity Party or PUN [Fernanda BORGES]; People's Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent Timor-Leste or FRETILIN [Mari ALKATIRI]; Social Democratic Association of Timor or ASDT; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Zacarias Albano da COSTA]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors or KOTA [Manuel TILMAN] (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes); (only parties in Parliament are listed)
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, ARF, ASEAN (observer), CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Constancio da Conceicao PINTO
chancery:
4201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 504,Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 966-3202
FAX:
[1] (202) 966-3205
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Judith R. FERGIN
embassy:
Avenida de Portugal, Praia dos Coqueiros, Dili
mailing address:
US Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone:
(670) 332-4684
FAX:
(670) 331-3206
Flag description
red, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; a white star - pointing to the upper hoist-side corner of the flag - is in the center of the black triangle; yellow denotes the colonialism in Timor-Leste's past; black represents the obscurantism that needs to be overcome; red stands for the national liberation struggle; the white star symbolizes peace and serves as a guiding light
National anthem
name:
"Patria" (Fatherland)
lyrics/music:
Fransisco Borja DA COSTA/Afonso DE ARAUJO
adopted 2002; the song was first used as an anthem when Timor-Leste declared its independence from Portugal in 1975; the lyricist, Fransisco Borja DA COSTA, was killed in an Indonesian invasion just days after independence was declared
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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