Elections in one of the youngest countries in the world

Date: April 12, 2012
By: Ananda Araujo Cerdan,Ibón Joung, Sara Setién, Eduardo Márquez and Virginia Mazón

   The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, also known and East Timor, is a small country from Southeast Asia. It was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century and declared independency in late 1975. However, three days later the country was invaded by Indonesia. This occupation lasted two decades and was marked by severe violations of the human rights. Indonesia has implemented the “politics of genocide”, which resulted in a massacre of the Timorese population.

   Despite the everlasting conflict that East Timor was going through, its cause just gained repercussion in 1996 when the bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and José Ramos Horta won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1999, the Portugal government along with the Indonesian began to negotiate, under the UN supervision, an independence referendum for the territory. In the same year, the Indonesian government initiated a social development program in which they construct and rebuild schools, hospitals and roads, in order to promote a good image among the Timorese.

   In 2001, the first democratic election happened and Xanana Gusmão, one of the leaders of the revolutionary forces in Timor, was elected. In the following year, East Timor became fully independent. A few years later, in 2007, the first election since the independence occurred. The country was still devastated by the years of occupation and the election campaigns were marked by disorder and violence. There are reports of nineteen hospitalizations in the capital, Dili. The election had two rounds and José Ramos Horta won the second round against  Francisco Gutierrez“Lu Olo”, current candidate.

   Nowadays, the country is still dealing with marks of years of occupation, not only on their history, but also in the streets and in the memory of those who lived through the worst days. Last month, the East Timorese population went to the polls for the second time since independence, to choose a new president. Among the candidates were the current president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Hose Ramos Horta and Lo Olo, who lost the past elections.
With a history marked by violence and conflicts, one of the new president challenges will be to maintain peace in the small country. “If everything goes peacefully, this shows that we are ready” said Aderito Hugo da Costa, a member of the current Prime Minister’s, Xanana Gusmão, party.

Francisco Gutierrez “Lu Olo”, candidate to East Timor’s presidency

    The last years of peace wake the hopes of development, which is fed by the fuel reserves in the island. A nine billion fund was created with the resources from oil and gas. How to use these resources was the central theme of the campaign in discussion that is happening until now. “In the last four or five years, nearly a billion dollars were placed in the economy. But look around. Where is this money?” said Lu Olo, leader of the FREITLIN party.

  Just as the first election of the country, there will be a second round, which will take place on April 16. The second round of the election will be Lu Olo against the General Taur Matan Ruak (Taur Matan Ruak Twitter).

Here is a video that explain a little bit how is this election important not only for East Timor, but also for neighborhood countries.

Here we have an article written by Chris White about a journalist who is there in East Timor and has seen how the elections are taking place.


Acerca de asiapacificm11
estudiantes: Eduardo Marquez Ibon Joung Virginia Mazon Sara Setien Ananda Cerdan

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