Fretilin

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Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente
AbbreviationFRETILIN
PresidentFrancisco "Lu Olo" Guterres
Secretary-GeneralMari Alkatiri
FoundersFrancisco Xavier do Amaral, Mari Alkatiri, José Ramos-Horta, Nicolau Lobato, Justino Mota[1]
Founded20 May 1974 (1974-05-20) (ASDT)
11 September 1974 (Fretilin)
HeadquartersAvenida Martires da Patria, Comoro, Dili, East Timor
Youth wingEast Timor Youth and Students Organisation
Paramilitary wingFALINTIL (1975–2001)
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Left-wing nationalism
Historical:
Marxism-Leninism
Political positionCentre-left[2]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
ColoursRed, black, and yellow
National Parliament
23 / 65
Party flag
Flag of FRETILIN (East Timor).svg
Website
fretilin.tl

The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Portuguese: Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente, abbreviated as Fretilin) is a centre-left[2] 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[edit]

Ascendancy and destruction[edit]

Fretilin was founded on 20 May, 1974 as the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).[1] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] The two men fell out as the pressures from the occupation escalated, and in September 1977 Lobato had do Amaral arrested for "high treason".[6] On 13 December 1978, Lobato, do Amaral's successor as president, was killed by the Indonesian military.[7] He was succeeded by Mau Lear, who served until he was also tracked down and executed by Indonesian forces on 2 February 1979.[7]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] The party formed a national unity government which included the CNRT,[12] 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.[13][14] Alkatiri said that the party would fight the decision through legal means[15] and would encourage people to protest and practice civil disobedience.[16] 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.[17]

Francisco Guterres of Fretilin served as president of East Timor from 2017 to 2022.[18] Guterres sought re-election to a second term in 2022, but lost to José Ramos-Horta.[19] 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).[20]

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Candidate Votes % Votes % Outcome
First Round Second Round
2007 Francisco Guterres 112,666 27.89% 127,342 30.82% Lost Red XN
2012 133,635 28.76% 174,408 38.77% Lost Red XN
2017 295,048 57.08% Won Green tickY
2022 144,282 22.13% 242,939 37.90% Lost Red XN

National Parliament elections[edit]

Election Party leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2001 Mari Alkatiri 208,531 57.37%
55 / 88
Increase 55 Increase 1st Government
2007 120,592 29.02%
21 / 65
Decrease 34 Steady 1st Opposition
2012 140,786 29.87%
25 / 65
Increase 4 Decrease 2nd Opposition
Coalition (from 2015)
2017 168,422 29.65%
23 / 65
Decrease 2 Increase 1st Caretaker (Snap election)
2018 213,324 34.29%
23 / 65
Steady Decrease 2nd Opposition

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Bartrop, Paul R., ed. (2014). Encountering Genocide: Personal Accounts from Victims, Perpetrators, and Witnesses. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-61069-330-1.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "East Timor parties to form a unity government". International Herald Tribune. Reuters. 16 July 2007.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Violence greets Horta's PM decision", smh.com.au, 6 August 2007.
  15. ^ "Riots after Gusmao named E Timor PM". Al Jazeera. 7 August 2007.
  16. ^ Lindsay Murdoch, "Fretilin threatens 'people-power' coup", theage.com.au, 9 August 2007.
  17. ^ "Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped", AFP (abc.net.au), 15 August 2007.
  18. ^ "East Timor profile - Timeline". BBC News. 26 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Ramos-Horta wins Timor-Leste presidential election". The Star. 20 April 2022. p. 1. Archived from the original on 21 April 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  20. ^ "East Timor votes in second general election in 10 months". Nikkei Asia.