|Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor
Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente
|President||Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres|
|Founded||11 September 1974|
|Headquarters||Avenida Martires da Patria, Comoro, Dili, East Timor|
|Youth wing||East Timor Youth and Students Organization|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (consultative status)|
|Colours||Red, Black, Yellow|
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.
Fretilin holds consultative status with the Socialist International.
History before independence
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
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 in order 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. 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. The party formed a national unity government which included the CNRT, 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 August 6 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. Alkatiri said that the party would fight the decision through legal means and would encourage people to protest and practice civil disobedience. 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.
- "National Provisional Results from the 30 June 2007 Parliamentary Elections", Comissão Nacional de Eleições Timor-Leste, July 9, 2007.
- "Rival of East Timor independence hero proposes alternative government", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), July 6, 2007.
- "East Timor parties to form a unity government", Reuters (International Herald Tribune), July 16, 2007.
- "East Timor's Independence Hero To Be Next Prime Minister", VOA News, August 6, 2007.
- Lindsay Murdoch, "Violence greets Horta's PM decision", smh.com.au, August 6, 2007.
- "Riots after Gusmao named E Timor PM", Al Jazeera, August 7, 2007.
- Lindsay Murdoch, "Fretilin threatens 'people-power' coup", theage.com.au, August 9, 2007.
- "Planned challenge to E Timor Govt dropped", AFP (abc.net.au), August 15, 2007.