The government of East Timor operates as a semi-presidential constitutional republic. It is a sovereign state which comprises half of the south east Pacific island of Timor as well as the islands of Atauro, Jaco, and Oecusse. The nation’s head of state is the President of the Republic while the head of government is the Prime Minister who is the leader of the Cabinet. Members of the National Parliament are elected by the people of East Timor.

Members of East Timor’s National Parliament are elected every five years while the President is elected separately and serves a term of five years. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and is the leader of the political party with the largest representation. Elections are based on party-list proportional representation and sixty five members are chosen by the electorate to make up the National Assembly. All permanent residents of East Timor over the age of seventeen may vote. Since it has become an independent country the island nation has only had four national elections (2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017).

The Parliament of East Timor meets in the National Parliament Building located in Dili, the capital city. In 2002 this large one story semi-circle structure building was renovated with the help of aid from the Australian government. It is here where the affairs of government take place. The official residence of the President of East Timor is the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace which is a modernist structure that’s also located in Dili. The building was constructed by the Chinese and opened in August 27, 2009. The palace is named in honor of the East Timorese national hero who served as Prime Minister of the nation from November to December 1975.


East Timor has a multi-party system. There are a number of active parties, including the Christian Democratic Party, the Socialist Party of Timor, and the Liberal Party.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018