East Timor holds national elections

East Timor holds national elections

East Timor will be holding its parliamentary elections today. The People’s Liberation Party (PLP) is running an opposition campaign against

Photo: Reuters/Lirio Da Fonseca

Photo: Reuters/Lirio Da Fonseca

East Timor will be holding its parliamentary elections today. The People’s Liberation Party (PLP) is running an opposition campaign against the two major parties, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) and the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), which currently rule the country together in a political coalition.

PLP candidate and former President Taur Matan Ruak is trying to tap into the dissatisfaction felt acutely by young voters (17 to 25). The former military commander is campaigning to increase spending on education and infrastructure, fighting corruption, instituting mandatory conscription to reduce mounting youth unemployment, and diversifying the economy.

It is likely that the PLP will win a number of seats in the 65-person parliament, though not enough to overthrow the partnership between Fretilin and the CNRT. Even if not this year, East Timor could see the makings a future opposition capable of checking the power of the juggernaut coalition. Within a week of the election, over half of voters remain undecided.