Timor-Leste is a young, sovereign nation in Southeast Asia, with a population of nearly 1.2 million people. Timor-Leste has a land territory of 15,410km², which encompasses the eastern part of the island of Timor, the enclave of Oe-Cusse Ambeno as well as the islands of Jaco and Ataúro.
Timor-Leste is a Democratic Republic with a civil law system and a unicameral Parliament. The President of the Republic, who is the Head of State, is His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak and the Prime Minister, who is the Head of the Government, is His Excellency Dr Rui Maria de Araújo. The Prime Minister is supported in all government matters by the Council of Ministers.
History in brief
East Timor, as it was referred to internationally before 2002, was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century until Portugal withdrew in 1975. In 1975, civil war broke out in East Timor. On 28 November 1975, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) declared the territory’s independence. Shortly after this declaration, Indonesia commenced its occupation of East Timor. The country remained under Indonesian control for 24 years. In 1999, the dream of freedom from foreign rule was realised when the Timorese people voted for independence.
The United Nations administered the territory until the restoration of independence on 20 May 2002, which has become a revered day in the national psyche. Today, Timor-Leste is a thriving democracy that has enjoyed economic growth, social stability and a renewed sense of national identity – all of which bode well for the future of Timor-Leste and its goal to implement the Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 and become a healthy, well-educated and prosperous nation.