|President||Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres|
|Founders||Francisco Xavier do Amaral, Mari Alkatiri, José Ramos-Horta, Nicolau Lobato, Justino Mota|
|Founded||20 May 1974ASDT) (|
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)|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance|
|Colours||Red, black, and yellow|
23 / 65
The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Portuguese: Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente, abbreviated as Fretilin) is a centre-left political party in East Timor. They presently hold 23 of 65 seats in the National Parliament. Fretilin formed the government in East Timor until their independence in 2002. They obtained the Presidency in 2017 under Francisco Guterres, but lost in the 2022 East Timorese presidential election.
Fretilin began as a resistance movement that fought for the independence of East Timor, originally from Portugal in 1974 and later from Indonesia until 1998. After East Timor gained its independence in 2002, Fretilin became one of several parties competing for power in a multi-party system.
History before independence
Ascendancy and destruction
Fretilin was founded on 20 May, 1974 as the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT). The ASDT renamed itself to Fretilin on 11 September 1974 and took a more radical stance, proclaiming itself the “sole legitimate representative” of the East Timorese people. 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. 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. The two men fell out as the pressures from the occupation escalated, and in September 1977 Lobato had do Amaral arrested for "high treason". On 13 December 1978, Lobato, do Amaral's successor as president, was killed by the Indonesian military. He was succeeded by Mau Lear, who served until he was also tracked down and executed by Indonesian forces on 2 February 1979.
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.
Recuperation and national unity
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 its revolutionary politics abandoned in order to further national unity and acquire the support of the UDT and the Catholic Church.
History since independence
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. 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. The party formed a national unity government which included the CNRT, 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. Alkatiri said that the party would fight the decision through legal means and would encourage people to protest and practice civil disobedience. 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.
Francisco Guterres of Fretilin served as president of East Timor from 2017 to 2022. Guterres sought re-election to a second term in 2022, but lost to José Ramos-Horta. The CNRT was in power from 2007 to 2017, but Fretilin Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri formed a coalition government after the July 2017 parliamentary election. However, his new minority government soon fell, resulting in a second general election in May 2018, which the CNRT won as part of the 2017–2020 coalition the Alliance for Change and Progress (AMP).
|First Round||Second Round|
|2007||Francisco Guterres||112,666||27.89%||127,342||30.82%||Lost N|
National Parliament elections
55 / 88
21 / 65
25 / 65
|Coalition (from 2015)|
23 / 65
|2||1st||Caretaker (Snap election)|
23 / 65
- 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.
- "East Timor country profile". BBC. 26 February 2018.
Commonly known as "Lu Olo", Mr Guterres leads the centre-left Fretilin party and is a former guerrilla, having fought against Indonesia's occupation of East Timor.
- 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.
- Bartrop, Paul R., ed. (2014). Encountering Genocide: Personal Accounts from Victims, Perpetrators, and Witnesses. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-61069-330-1.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "National Provisional Results from the 30 June 2007 Parliamentary Elections" Archived 10 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Comissão Nacional de Eleições Timor-Leste, 9 July 2007.
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- "Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped", AFP (abc.net.au), 15 August 2007.
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- "East Timor votes in second general election in 10 months". Nikkei Asia.