Timor-Leste’s new president Jose Ramos-Horta is scheduled to take office today after winning the April 20 presidential election. A runoff
Timor-Leste’s new president Jose Ramos-Horta is scheduled to take office today after winning the April 20 presidential election.
A runoff election was held on April 19 after Ramos-Horta proved unable to secure more than 50% of the vote over incumbent president Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres. Ramos-Horta and Guterres have accused each other of being responsible for years of political deadlock.
Political tensions between the country’s largest parties, Guterres’s Revolutionary Front for an Independent Timor-Leste and the National Congress of the Reconstruction of Timor-Leste (CNRT) have politically stagnated the country. The most recent stalemate regarding the passage of a budget led to the resignation of Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak in February 2020. The country has been without an annual budget since then and instead has relied on oil revenues and money from Timor-Leste’s Petroleum Fund for its operations.
As president, Ramos-Horta has expressed interest in dissolving the country’s parliament. He is likely to do so if a new majority centered around the CNRT cannot be negotiated with parties in the current parliament. Further, Ramos-Horta’s accusations that Guterres illegally seized the position of parliamentary speaker will do little to soothe political fighting. Should the dissolution occur, inter-party tensions may only be exacerbated.