File(s) under permanent embargo

Timor-leste’s challenged political process: 2016-17

journal contribution
posted on 2018-04-01, 00:00 authored by Damien KingsburyDamien Kingsbury
As 2017 unfolded, Timor-Leste appeared to be consolidating its democratic embrace, with peaceful, locally organized democratic elections. Medium- to longer-term prospects for the recently independent country, however, were more ambiguous, with the country’s reliance on oil receipts being tested against still low levels of development. This article proposes that, despite a decade of stability, material improvement has been limited for many of Timor-Leste’s people and exacerbated by growing perceptions of corruption among the country’s elite. Timor-Leste’s social and political stability, therefore, by conventional criteria, appeared vulnerable and its democracy potentially fragile. All of this was exacerbated by the formation of a minority government which failed to achieve the type of inclusion that would have secured a higher degree of political certainty and stability. Instead, the majority opposition formed a political bloc to challenge the government’s programme, including its budget, voting it down twice and hence establishing grounds for the formation of a new government or fresh elections. Set against increasingly confrontational rhetoric, the country’s political stability was, by the end of 2017, in tatters, with a return to the type of bitter divisions that marked the political environment just over a decade ago.

History

Journal

Contemporary Southeast Asia: a journal of international and strategic affairs

Volume

40

Issue

1

Pagination

77 - 100

Publisher

Singapore University Press for the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

Location

Singapore

ISSN

0129-797X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute