In total, 21 political parties registered for the election. The campaign was focused on economic issues, particularly the country's $10.5 billion oil fund. Alongside the two main parties, CNRT and FRETILIN, a further 19 parties and lists registered for the elections.
The election campaign was focussed on economic issues, particularly the question of what should be done with the country's oil fund, worth $10.5 billion. The CNRT campaign pledged to increase the amount of money the fund contributed to the state budget beyond the existing 3% limit and to attract foreign loans for infrastructure improvement projects, promising long-term investment in roads and electricity and water supplies. FRETILIN opposed CNRT's policies on foreign loans and changes to the oil fund spending, but ran a campaign focused on raising levels of income and education. FRETILIN general secretary Mari Alkatiri promised to reduce corruption if elected.