"Timor Leste Route to Democracy: a critical appraisal"

"Timor Leste Route to Democracy: a critical appraisal"

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue: 
Deakin Room, Founder's Building, St Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Rui Feijo (Visiting Academic, St Antony's College & Associate Researcher, University of Coimbra)
Chair: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Convenor: 
Dr Matthew Walton
Series: 
Southeast Asia Seminar

In 1999 Timor-Leste was given the opportunity to vote on a self-determination referendum that put an end to centuries of Portuguese colonial and Indonesian neo-colonial rule. Two and a half year later, Timor-Leste proclaimed its Independence, and set off on a road to create a modern, democratic state. Fifteen years have elapsed, and today most observers consider that Timor-Leste has been successful in upholding its own democracy and the rule of law. However, the road along which the country has travelled is full of hurdles and several challenges were met with varying degrees of success. In this talk, I shall start by assessing the odds faced by Timor-Leste in its endeavour to create a democratic state, and will then consider four areas of political relevance: the process of constitution-making; the role of elections and the behaviour of the electoral administration; the choice of the government system; and finally the much protracted decentralization reform. I will conclude with some notes on the challenges to democracy in the near future

 

Rui Graça Feijó (CES/Coimbra & St Antony’s) obtained a D. Phil in Modern History (1984) and has a long experience teaching in Portugal and Timor-Leste. After 2004 he has devoted his attention to the process of democracy building in this young nation. He lived in Timor for over a year, when he was appointed UN advisor do the presidency (2005), and has returned there very frequently over the past eight years. In 2006 he published Tropical Landscape with People Inside, and this year he edited a volume on Timorese semipresidentialism. His essays have appeared in journals like Democratization, Asian Survey and Journal of Current Southeastern Asia Affairs