Government Structure

The Democratic Republic of East Timor, Timor Leste, is one of the newest countries in the world, getting their independence and international recognition on May 2002. It is a Parliamentary Democracy with 23 administrative divisions.


Is represented by the President who plays more a symbolic role, is directly elected by the people with an office term of 5 years (eligible for a second term), with powers conceived in the constitution as commander in chief of Defense Forces and is able to veto legislation, dissolve parliament, and call national elections. The President appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the prime minister.

The President has an advisory body, the Council of State, that comprises: Former Presidents who were not removed from office; The Speaker of the National Parliament; The Prime Minister; Five citizens elected by the National Parliament and Five citizens designated by the President. According to the Constitution the Council of State should express its opinion on the following topics: dissolution of the National Parliament; dismissal of the Government; on the declaration of war and the making of peace; and any other cases set out in the Constitution and advise the President of the Republic in the exercise of his or her functions. The meetings of the Council of State shall not be open to the public.

The Prime Minister presides the cabinet, or Council of Ministers, which comprises all Ministers of State and Ministers, some Secretaries of State without voting rights and eventually Vice Ministers of Secretaries of State requested to attend by the Prime Minister.


Is represented by the National Parliament, which is an unicameral organ with legislative supervisory and political decision making powers.

The National Parliament, according to the constitution, must be made up of a minimum of fifty‐two and a maximum of sixty‐five members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote with a term of office of five years. When the National Parliament is dissolved or in recession a Standing Committee must be organized and presided over by the Speaker of the National Parliament and comprised of Deputy Speakers and Parliament Members designated by the parties sitting in the Parliament in accordance with their respective representation.


Is composed by Courts that are organs of sovereignty with competencies to administer justice, its decisions must be binding and prevail over the decisions of any other authority. Courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, the Judges in office are not allowed to perform any other activity, whether public or private, than teaching or legal research. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of law and the guarantor of a uniform enforcement with national jurisdiction and its President is appointed by the President of the Republic from among judges of the Supreme Court of Justice for a term of office of four years. The organ of management and discipline of the judges of the courts and it is incumbent upon it to appoint, assign, transfer and promote the judges is the Superior Council for the Judiciary that must be presided by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and one designated by the President, one by the National Parliament; one by the Government; and one elected by the judges of the courts of law from among their peers.

The Superior Council for the Judiciary competence, organization and functioning must be regulated by the law. Between the subordinate courts are the Court of Appeal; the district courts and magistrates’ courts.


According to the constitution the central government should be represented at the different administrative levels of the country. East Timor is divided into thirteen administrative municipalities (former districts) and sixty-five administrative posts (former sub-districts). The municipality “Oecussi Ambeno” must be governed by a special administrative policy and economic regime and Ataúro island shall enjoy an appropriate economic status.

For the purpose of promoting and organizing the citizens’ participation on local issues such as development or solving disputes, local governments are constituted with representative organs on their own community without prejudice to the participation by the State.

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