Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor

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Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente
President Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres
Secretary-General Mari Alkatiri
Founded September 11, 1974 (1974-09-11)
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
25 / 65
Party flag
Flag of FRETILIN (East Timor).svg

The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Portuguese: Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente or 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. It was originally called the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT). 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]

In 1978 Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, then the FRETILIN leader, was killed by the Indonesian military. The armed military wing of FRETILIN, which engaged in a guerrilla war against the Indonesian military during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor was known as Falintil.

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.[1] 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.[2] The party formed a national unity government which included the CNRT,[3] 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.[4][5] Alkatiri said that the party would fight the decision through legal means[6] and would encourage people to protest and practice civil disobedience.[7] 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.[8]

Election results[edit]

Legislative elections[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
55 / 88
208,531 57.37% Increase55 seats; Governing party Mari Alkatiri
21 / 65
120,592 29.02% Decrease34 seats; Opposition Mari Alkatiri
25 / 65
140,786 29.87% Increase4 seats; Coalition (from 2015) 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


  1. ^ "National Provisional Results from the 30 June 2007 Parliamentary Elections", Comissão Nacional de Eleições Timor-Leste, 9 July 2007.
  2. ^ "Rival of East Timor independence hero proposes alternative government", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 6 July 2007.
  3. ^ "East Timor parties to form a unity government", Reuters (International Herald Tribune), 16 July 2007.
  4. ^ "East Timor's Independence Hero To Be Next Prime Minister", VOA News, 6 August 2007.
  5. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Violence greets Horta's PM decision",, 6 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Riots after Gusmao named E Timor PM", Al Jazeera, 7 August 2007.
  7. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Fretilin threatens 'people-power' coup",, 9 August 2007.
  8. ^ "Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped", AFP (, 15 August 2007.