Fretilin

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Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente
Abbreviation Fretilin, FRETILIN
President Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres
Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri
Founded 20 May 1974 (1974-05-20) (ASDT)
11 September 1974 (Fretilin)
Headquarters Avenida Martires da Patria, Comoro, Dili, East Timor
Youth wing East Timor Youth and Students Organisation
Paramilitary wing FALINTIL (1975-2001)
(2001-present) as the armed forces of East Timor
Ideology Democratic socialism
Social democracy
Left-wing nationalism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Progressive Alliance
Socialist International (Consultative)
Colours Red, Black, Yellow
National Parliament
23 / 65
Party flag
Flag of FRETILIN (East Timor).svg

The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Portuguese: Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente, abbreviated as Fretilin) is a leftist political party in East Timor. They presently hold a plurality of seats in the National Parliament and formed the government in East Timor from independence until 2007. The party began as a resistance movement that fought for the independence of East Timor, first from Portugal and then from Indonesia, between 1974 and 1998. After East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia, Fretilin became one of several parties competing for power in a multi-party system.

History before independence[edit]

Ascendancy and destruction[edit]

Fretilin was founded on 20 May 1974, initially known as the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).[1] ASDT renamed itself Fretilin on 11 September 1974 and took a more radical stance, proclaiming itself the “sole legitimate representative” of the East Timorese people.[2] In response to a coup by the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) on 11 August 1975, Fretilin hastily formed an armed wing called Falintil, which emerged victorious after a three week civil war.[3] Falintil would continue to wage war against the Indonesian military during its invasion on 7 December 1975 and ensuing occupation.

Fretilin formally declared East Timor's independence from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and inaugurated an 18 member cabinet with members of the Fretilin Central Committee, with Xavier do Amaral as president, and Nicolau dos Reis Lobato as both vice president and prime minister.[4] The two men fell out as the pressures from the occupation escalated, and in September 1977 Lobato had do Amaral arrested for "high treason".[5] On 13 December 1978, Nicolau Lobato, do Amaral's successor as president, was killed by the Indonesian military.[6] Mau Lear became the new president until he was tracked down and executed on 2 February 1979.[6]

Fretilin came under enormous pressure in the late 1970s. From September 1977 to February 1979, only 3 of the 52 members of Fretilin's Central Committee survived.[6]

Recuperation and national unity[edit]

Fretilin survived despite the military collapse, and was slowly rebuilt under the relatively moderate and nationalist leadership of Xanana Gusmão.[7]

Between March 1981 and April 1984 Fretilin was known as Partido Marxista–Leninista Fretilin (PMLF), and Marxism-Leninism was officially declared the party's ideology. The name was changed back in 1984—and revolutionary politics abandoned—in order to further national unity and acquire the support of the UDT and the Catholic Church.[8]

History since independence[edit]

In the first elections, held in 2001, the year before independence, Fretilin polled 57.4% of the vote and took 55 seats in the 88-seat Assembly. While this gave the party a working majority, it fell short of the two-thirds majority it had hoped for to dictate the drafting of a national constitution.

In the June 2007 parliamentary election, Fretilin again took first place, but with a greatly reduced 29% of the vote and 21 seats.[9] In the election it faced a challenge from the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), led by former president Xanana Gusmão, which placed second. Although Fretilin did not win a majority of seats, its Secretary-General, Mari Alkatiri, spoke of forming a minority government.[10] The party formed a national unity government which included the CNRT,[11] a collaboration that they had previously rejected.

However, subsequent talks between the parties were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement on a government. After weeks of dispute between the CNRT-led coalition and Fretilin over who should form the government, José Ramos-Horta announced on 6 August that the CNRT-led coalition would form the government and that Gusmão would become Prime Minister. Fretilin denounced Ramos Horta's decision as unconstitutional, and angry Fretilin supporters in Dili immediately reacted to Ramos-Horta's announcement with violent protests.[12][13] Alkatiri said that the party would fight the decision through legal means[14] and would encourage people to protest and practice civil disobedience.[15] A few days later, Fretilin Vice-President Arsénio Bano said that the party would not challenge the government in court, and expressed a desire for a "political solution" leading to the creation of a national unity government.[16]

Election results[edit]

Legislative elections[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2001
55 / 88
208,531 57.37% Increase 55 seats; Governing party Mari Alkatiri
2007
21 / 65
120,592 29.02% Decrease 34 seats; Opposition Mari Alkatiri
2012
25 / 65
140,786 29.87% Increase 4 seats; Coalition (from 2015) Mari Alkatiri
2017
23 / 65
168,422 29.65% Decrease 2 seats Mari Alkatiri

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Candidate 1st round
(Total votes)
Share of votes Outcome 2nd round
(Total votes)
Share of votes Outcome
2007 Francisco Guterres 112,666 27.89% Runoff 127,342 30.82% Lost Red XN
2012 Francisco Guterres 133,635 28.76% Runoff 174,408 38.77% Lost Red XN
2017 Francisco Guterres 295,048 57.1% Runoff N/A N/A Won Green tickY

References[edit]

  1. ^ CAVR. "Chega! Final Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor – Part 3: The History of the Conflict" (PDF). para. 47. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  2. ^ CAVR. "Chega! Final Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor – Part 3: The History of the Conflict" (PDF). para. 87. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  3. ^ Bartrop, Paul R., ed. (2014). Encountering Genocide: Personal Accounts from Victims, Perpetrators, and Witnesses. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-61069-330-1. 
  4. ^ Kiernan, Ben (2007). Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial & Justice in Cambodia & East Timor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. pp. 113, 115–116. ISBN 978-1-4128-0669-5. 
  5. ^ Kiernan, Ben (2007). Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial & Justice in Cambodia & East Timor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4128-0669-5. 
  6. ^ a b c Kiernan, Ben (2007). Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial & Justice in Cambodia & East Timor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4128-0669-5. 
  7. ^ Kiernan, Ben (2007). Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial & Justice in Cambodia & East Timor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. pp. 120, 129. ISBN 978-1-4128-0669-5. 
  8. ^ Kiernan, Ben (2007). Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia: Documentation, Denial & Justice in Cambodia & East Timor. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. pp. 167–168, 174. ISBN 978-1-4128-0669-5.  These pages refer to part 5 of Chega! The Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste, which is included in Kiernan's book.
  9. ^ "National Provisional Results from the 30 June 2007 Parliamentary Elections", Comissão Nacional de Eleições Timor-Leste, 9 July 2007.
  10. ^ "Rival of East Timor independence hero proposes alternative government". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. 6 July 2007. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "East Timor parties to form a unity government". International Herald Tribune. Reuters. 16 July 2007. 
  12. ^ Collins, Nancy-Amelia (6 August 2007). "Violence Erupts After Gusmao Named East Timor Prime Minister". VOA News. Jakarta. Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. 
  13. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Violence greets Horta's PM decision", smh.com.au, 6 August 2007.
  14. ^ "Riots after Gusmao named E Timor PM". Al Jazeera. 7 August 2007. 
  15. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Fretilin threatens 'people-power' coup", theage.com.au, 9 August 2007.
  16. ^ "Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped", AFP (abc.net.au), 15 August 2007.