OF EAST TIMOR
1 The Republic
2 Sovereignty and constitutionality
6 Objectives of the State
7 Universal suffrage and multi-party system
8 International relations
9 International law
11 Valorisation of Resistance
12 State and religions denominations
13 Official languages and national languages
14 National symbols
15 National flag
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, DUTIES, LIBERTIES AND GUARANTEES
16 Universality and equality
17 Equality between women and men
18 Child protection
20 Old age
21 Disabled citizen
22 East Timorese citizens overseas
23 Interpretation of fundamental rights
24 Restrictive laws
25 State of exception
26 Access to courts
28 Right to resistance and self-defence
PERSONAL RIGHTS, LIBERTIES AND GUARANTEES
29 Right to life
30 Right to personal freedom, security and integrity
31 Application of criminal law
32 Limits on sentences and security measures
33 Habeas Corpus
34 Guarantees in criminal proceedings
35 Extradition and expulsion
36 Right to honour and privacy
37 Inviolability of home and correspondence
38 Protection of personal data
39 Family, marriage and maternity
40 Freedom of speech and information
41 Freedom of the press and mass media
42 Freedom to assemble and demonstrate
43 Freedom of association
44 Freedom of movement
45 Freedom of conscience, religion and worship
46 Right to political participation
47 Right to vote
48 Right to petition
49 Defence of sovereignty
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
50 Right to work
51 Right to strike and prohibition of lock-out
52 Trade union freedom
53 Consumer rights
54 Right to private property
55 Obligations of the taxpayer
56 Social security and assistance
59 Education and culture
60 Intellectual property
ORGANISATION OF THE POLITICAL POWER
62 Source and exercise of power
63 Participation by citizens in political life
64 Principle of renewal
67 Organs of sovereignty
69 Principle of separation of powers
70 Political parties and right of opposition
71 Administrative organisation
72 Local government
73 Publication of legislation and decisions
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
STATUS, ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT
77 Inauguration and swearing-in
79 Criminal liability and constitutional obligations
81 Resignation of office
82 Death, resignation or permanent disability
83 Exceptional cases
84 Replacement and interim office
86 Competencies with regard to other organs
87 Competencies with regard to international relations
88 Promulgation and veto
89 Powers of an interim President of the Republic
COUNCIL OF STATE
90 Council of State
91 Competencies, organisation and functioning of the Council of State
STATUS AND ELECTION
93 Election and composition
95 Competence of the National Parliament
96 Legislative authorisation
97 Legislative initiative
98 Parliamentary appraisal of statutes
ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONING
99 Legislative term
101 Attendance by members of the Government
102 Standing Committee
DEFINITION AND STRUCTURE
105 Council of Ministers
FORMATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
107 Responsibility of the Government
108 The Programme of the Government
109 Consideration of the Programme of the Government
110 Request for vote of confidence
111 Vote of no confidence
112 Dismissal of the Government
113 Criminal liability of members of Government
114 Immunity for members of the Government
115 Competencies of the Government
116 Competencies of the Council of Ministers
117 Competencies of the members of Government
COURTS, PUBLIC PROSECUTION AND LAWYERS
120 Review of unconstitutionality
123 Categories of courts
124 Supreme Court of Justice
125 Functioning and composition
126 Electoral and constitutional competence
128 Superior Council for the Judiciary
129 High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court
130 Military courts
131 Court hearings
132 Function and status
133 Office of the Prosecutor-General
134 Superior Council for the Public Prosecution
136 Guarantees in the activity of lawyers
137 Public Administration general principles
ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL ORGANISATION
138 Economic organisation
139 Natural resources
FINANCIAL AND TAX SYSTEM
142 Financial system
143 Central Bank
144 Tax system
145 State Budget
NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
146 Defence Force
147 Police and security forces
148 Superior Council for Defence and Security
GUARANTEE AND REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION
GUARANTEE OF THE CONSTITUTION
149 Anticipatory review of constitutionality
150 Abstract review of constitutionality
151 Unconstitutionality by omission
152 Appeals on constitutionality
153 Decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice
154 Initiative and time of revision
155 Approval and promulgation
156 Limits on matters of revision
157 Limits on time of revision
FINAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
158 Treaties, agreements and alliances
159 Working languages
160 Serious crimes
161 Illegal appropriation of assets
163 Transitional judicial organisation
164 Transitional competence of the Supreme Court of Justice
165 Previous law
166 National Anthem
167 Transformation of the Constituent Assembly
168 Second Transitional Government
169 Presidential election of 2002
170 Entry into force of the Constitution
Following the liberation of the Timorese People from colonisation and
illegal occupation of the Maubere Motherland by foreign powers, the
independence of East Timor, proclaimed on the 28th of November 1975
by Frente Revolucionßria do Timor-Leste Independente (FRETILIN), is
recognised internationally on the 20th of May 2002.
The preparation and adoption of the Constitution of the Democratic
Republic of East Timor is the culmination of the secular resistance of the
Timorese People intensified following the invasion of the 7th of
The struggle waged against the enemy, initially under the leadership of
FRETILIN, gave way to more comprehensive forms of political participation,
particularly in the wake of the establishment of the National Council of the
Maubere Resistance (CNRT) in 1987 and the National Council of Timorese
Resistance (CNRT) in 1998.
The Resistance was divided into three fronts.
The armed front was carried out by the glorious Foršas
Armadas de LibertašŃo Nacional de Timor-Leste (FALINTIL) whose
historical undertaking is to be praised.
The action of the clandestine front, astutely unleashed in hostile
territory, involved the sacrifice of thousands of lives of women and men,
especially the youth, who fought with abnegation for freedom and
The diplomatic front, harmoniously carried out all over the world,
enabled the paving of the way for definitive liberation.
In its cultural and humane perspective, the Catholic Church in East
Timor has always been able to take on the suffering of all the People with
dignity, placing itself on their side in the defence of their most fundamental
Ultimately, the present Constitution represents a heart-felt tribute to
all martyrs of the Motherland.
Thus, the Members of the Constituent Assembly, in their capacity as
legitimate representatives of the People elected on the 30th of
Based further on the results of the referendum of the 30th of
August 1999 organised under the auspices of the United Nations which confirmed
the self-determined will for independence;
Fully conscious of the need to build a democratic and institutional
culture proper of a State based on the rule of law where respect for the
Constitution, for the laws and for democratically elected institutions
constitute its unquestionable foundation;
Interpreting the profound sentiments, the aspirations and the faith in
God of the People of East Timor;
Solemnly reaffirm their determination to fight all forms of tyranny,
oppression, social, cultural or religious domination and segregation, to defend
national independence, to respect and guarantee human rights and the
fundamental rights of the citizen, to ensure the principle of the separation of
powers in the organisation of the State, and to establish the essential rules
of multi-party democracy, with a view to building a just and prosperous nation
and developing a society of solidarity and fraternity.
The Constituent Assembly, meeting in plenary session on the
22nd of March 2002, approves and decrees the following Constitution
of the Democratic Republic of East Timor:
CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF EAST TIMOR
1. The Democratic Republic of East Timor is a democratic, sovereign,
independent and unitary State based on the rule of law, the will of the people
and the respect for the dignity of the human person.
2. The 28th of November 1975 is the Day of Proclamation of
Independence of the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
(Sovereignty and constitutionality)
1. Sovereignty rests with the people, who shall exercise it in the manner
and form laid down in the Constitution.
2. The State shall be subject to the Constitution and to the law.
3. The validity of the laws and other actions of the State and local
Government depends upon their compliance with the Constitution.
4. The State shall recognise and value the norms and customs of East Timor
that are not contrary to the Constitution and to any legislation dealing
specifically with customary law.
1. There shall be original citizenship and acquired citizenship in the
Democratic Republic of East Timor.
2. The following citizens shall be considered original citizens of East
Timor, as long as they are born in the national territory:
a) Children of father or mother born in East Timor;
b) Children of incognito parents, stateless parents or parents of unknown
c) Children of a foreign father or mother who, being over seventeen years
old, declare their will to become East Timorese nationals.
3. Irrespective of being born in a foreign country, children of a Timorese
father or mother shall be considered original citizens of East Timor.
a) Children of an East Timorese father or mother living overseas;
b) Children of an East Timorese father or mother serving the State outside
4. Acquisition, loss and reacquisition of citizenship, as well as its
registration and proof, shall be regulated by law.
1. The territory of the Democratic Republic of East Timor comprises the land
surface, the maritime zone and the air space demarcated by the national
boundaries that historically comprise the eastern part of Timor Island, the
enclave of Oecussi, the island of Ata˙ro and the islet of Jaco.
2. The extent and limits of territorial waters and the
exclusive economic zone, and the rights of East Timor to the adjacent seabed
and continental shelf shall be laid down in the law.
3. The State shall not alienate any part of the East Timorese territory or
the rights of sovereignty over the land, without prejudice to rectification of
1. On matters of territorial organisation, the State shall respect the
principle of decentralisation of public administration.
2. The law shall determine and establish the characteristics of the
different territorial levels and the administrative competencies of the
3. Oecussi Ambeno and Ata˙ro shall enjoy special administrative and
(Objectives of the State)
The fundamental objectives of the State shall be:
a) To defend and guarantee the sovereignty of the country;
b) To guarantee and promote fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens
and the respect for the principles of the democratic State based on the rule of
c) To defend and guarantee political democracy and participation of the
people in the resolution of national problems;
d) To guarantee the development of the economy and the progress of science
e) To promote the building of a society based on social justice, by
establishing material and spiritual welfare of the citizens;
f) To protect the environment and to preserve natural resources;
g) To assert and value the personality and the cultural heritage of the East
h) To promote the establishment and the development of relations of
friendship and co-operation among all Peoples and States;
i) To promote the harmonious and integrated development of the sectors and
regions and the fair distribution of the national product;
j) To promote and guarantee the effective equality of opportunities between
women and men.
(Universal Suffrage and multi-party system)
1. The people shall exercise the political power through universal, free,
equal, direct, secret and periodic suffrage and through other forms laid down
in the Constitution.
2. The State shall value the contribution of political parties for the
organised expression of the popular will and for the democratic participation
of the citizen in the governance of the country.
1. On matters of international relations, the Democratic Republic of East
Timor shall govern itself by the principles of national independence, the right
of the Peoples to self-determination and independence, the permanent
sovereignty of the peoples over their wealth and natural resources, the
protection of human rights, the mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial
integrity and equality among States and the non-interference in domestic
affairs of other States.
2. The Democratic Republic of East Timor shall establish relations of
friendship and co-operation with all other peoples, aiming at the peaceful
settlement of conflicts, the general, simultaneous and controlled disarmament,
the establishment of a system of collective security and establishment of a new
international economic order capable of ensuring peace and justice in the
relations among peoples.
3. The Democratic Republic of East Timor shall maintain privileged ties with
the countries whose official language is Portuguese.
4. The Democratic Republic of East Timor shall maintain special ties of
friendship and co-operation with its neighbouring countries and the countries
of the region.
1. The legal system of East Timor shall adopt the general or customary
principles of international law.
2. Rules provided for in international conventions, treaties and agreements
shall apply in the internal legal system of East Timor following their
approval, ratification or accession by the respective competent organs and
after publication in the official gazette.
3. All rules that are contrary to the provisions of international
conventions, treaties and agreements applied in the internal legal system of
East Timor shall be invalid.
1. The Democratic Republic of East Timor shall extend its solidarity to the
struggle of the peoples for national liberation.
2. The Democratic Republic of East Timor shall grant political asylum, in
accordance with the law, to foreigners persecuted as a result of their struggle
for national and social liberation, defence of human rights, democracy and
(Valorisation of Resistance)
1. The Democratic Republic of East Timor acknowledges and values the secular
resistance of the Maubere People against foreign domination and the
contribution of all those who fought for national independence.
2. The State acknowledges and values the participation of the CatholicChurch
in the process of national liberation of East Timor.
3. The State shall ensure special protection to the war-disabled, orphans
and other dependants of those who dedicated their lives to the struggle for
independence and national sovereignty, and shall protect all those who
participated in the resistance against the foreign occupation, in accordance
with the law.
4. The law shall define the mechanisms for rendering tribute to the national
(State and religious denominations)
1. The State shall recognise and respect the different religious
denominations, which are free in their organisation and in the exercise of
their own activities, to take place in due observance of the Constitution and
2. The State shall promote the cooperation with the different religious
denominations that contribute to the well-being of the people of East Timor.
(Official languages and national languages)
1. Tetum and Portuguese shall be the official languages in the Democratic
Republic of East Timor.
2. Tetum and the other national languages shall be valued and developed by
1. The national symbols of the Democratic Republic of East Timor shall be
the flag, the emblem and the national anthem.
2. The emblem and the national anthem shall be approved by law.
1. The National Flag is rectangular and is formed by two isosceles
triangles, the bases of which are overlapping. One triangle is black and its
height is equal to one-third of the length overlapped to the yellow triangle,
whose height is equal to half the length of the Flag. In the centre of the
black triangle there is a white star of five ends, meaning the light that
guides. The white star has one of its ends turned towards the upper right end
of the flag. The remaining part of the flag is red.
2. The colours mean:
Yellow - the traces of colonialism;
Black - the obscurantism that needs to be overcome;
Red - the struggle for national liberation;
White - peace.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, DUTIES, FREEDOMS AND GUARANTEES
(Universality and Equality)
1. All citizens are equal before the law, shall exercise the same rights and
shall be subject to the same duties.
2. No one shall be discriminated against on grounds of colour, race, marital
status, gender, ethnical origin, language, social or economic status, political
or ideological convictions, religion, education and physical or mental
(Equality between women and men)
Women and men shall have the same rights and duties in all areas of family
life and political, economic, social, cultural.
1. Children shall be entitled to special protection by the family, the
community and the State, particularly against all forms of abandonment,
discrimination, violence, oppression, sexual abuse and exploitation.
2. Children shall enjoy all rights that are universally recognised, as well
as all those that are enshrined in international conventions normally ratified
or approved by the State.
3. Every child born inside or outside the wedlock shall enjoy the same
rights and social protection.
1. The State shall promote and encourage youth initiatives towards the
consolidation of national unity, reconstruction, defence and development of the
2. The State shall promote education, health and vocational training for the
youth as may be practicable.
1. Every senior citizen has the right to special protection by the State.
2. The old age policy entails measures of economic, social and cultural
nature designed to provide the elderly with opportunities for personal
achievement through active and
dignifying participation in the community.
1. A disabled citizen shall enjoy the same rights and shall be subject to
the same duties as all other citizens, except for the rights and duties which
he or she is unable to exercise or fulfil due to his or her disability.
2. The State shall promote the protection of disabled citizens as may be
practicable and in accordance with the law.
(East Timorese citizens overseas)
East Timorese citizens who are or live overseas shall enjoy protection by
the State for the exercise of their rights and shall be subject to duties not
incompatible with their absence from the country.
(Interpretation of fundamental rights)
Fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution shall not exclude any other
rights provided for by the law and shall be interpreted in accordance with the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1. Restriction of rights, freedoms and guarantees can only be imposed by law
in order to safeguard other constitutionally protected rights or interests and
in cases clearly provided for by the Constitution.
2. Laws restricting rights, freedoms and guarantees have necessarily a
general and abstract nature and may not reduce the extent and scope of the
essential contents of constitutional provisions and shall not have a
(State of exception)
1. Suspension of the exercise of fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees
shall only take place if a state of siege or a state of emergency has been
declared as provided for by the Constitution.
2. A state of siege or a state of emergency shall only be declared in case
of effective or impending aggression by a foreign force, of serious disturbance
or threat of serious disturbance to the democratic constitutional order, or of
3. A declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency shall be
substantiated, specifying rights, freedoms and guarantees the exercise of which
is to be suspended.
4. A suspension shall not last for more than thirty days, without prejudice
of possible justified renewal, when strictly necessary, for equal periods of
5. In no case shall a declaration of a state of siege affect the right to
life, physical integrity, citizenship, non-retroactivity of the criminal law,
defence in a criminal case and freedom of conscience and religion, the right
not to be subjected to torture, slavery or servitude, the right not to be
subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment , and the
guarantee of non-discrimination.
6. Authorities shall restore constitutional normality as soon as possible.
(Access to courts)
Access to courts is guaranteed to all for the defence of their legally
protected rights and interests.
Justice shall not be denied for insufficient economic means.
1. The Ombudsman shall be an independent organ in charge to examine and seek
to settle citizens' complaints against public bodies, certify the conformity of
the acts with the law, prevent and initiate the whole process to remedy
2. Citizens may present complaints concerning acts or omissions on the part
of public bodies to the Ombudsman, who shall undertake a review, without power
of decision, and shall forward recommendations to the competent organs as
3. The Ombudsman shall be appointed by the National Parliament through
absolute majority votes of its members for a term of office of four years.
4. The activity the Ombudsman shall be independent from any means of grace
and legal remedies as laid down in the Constitution and the law.
5. Administrative organs and public servants shall have the duty to
collaborate with the Ombudsman.
(Right to resistance and self-defence)
1. Every citizen has the right to disobey and to resist illegal orders or
orders that affect their fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees.
2. The right to self-defence is guaranteed to all, in accordance with the
PERSONAL RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND GUARANTEES
(Right to life)
1. Human life is inviolable.
2. The State shall recognise and guarantee the right to life.
3. There shall be no death penalty in the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
(Right to personal freedom, security and integrity)
1. Every one has the right to personal freedom, security and integrity.
2. No one shall be arrested or detained, except under the terms clearly
provided for by applicable law, and the order of arrest or detention should
always be presented for consideration by the competent judge within the legal
3. Every individual who loses his or her freedom shall be immediately
informed, in a clear and precise manner, of the reasons for his or her arrest
or detention as well as of his or her rights, and allowed to contact a lawyer,
directly or through a relative or a trusted person.
4. No one shall be subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
(Application of criminal law)
1. No one shall be subjected to trial, except in accordance with the law.
2. No one shall be tried and convicted for an act that does not qualify in
the law as a criminal offence at the moment it was committed, nor endure
security measures the provisions of which are not clearly established in
3. Penalties or security measures not clearly provided for by law at the
moment the criminal offence was committed shall not be enforced.
4. No one shall be tried and convicted for the same criminal offence more
5. Criminal law shall not be enforced retroactively, except if the new law
is in favour of the accused.
6. Anyone who has been unjustly convicted has the right to a fair
compensation in accordance with the law.
(Limits on sentences and security measures)
1. There shall be no life imprisonment nor sentences or security measures
lasting for unlimited or indefinite period of time in the Democratic Republic
of East Timor.
2. In case of danger as a result of mental illness, security measures may be
successively extended by judicial decision.
3. Criminal liability is not transmissible.
4. Persons who are subjected, on conviction, to a sentence or a security
measure involving loss of freedom remain entitled to their fundamental rights,
subject to the limitations that necessarily derive from that conviction and
from the requirements for its enforcement.
1. Everyone who illegally loses his or her freedom has the right to apply
for habeas corpus.
2. An application for habeas corpus shall be made by the detainee or
by any other person in the exercise of his or her civil rights, in accordance
with the law.
3. The court shall rule on the application for habeas corpus within 8
days at a hearing in the presence of both parties.
(Guarantees in criminal proceedings)
1. Everyone charged with an offence is presumed innocent until convicted.
2. An accused person has the right to select, and be assisted by, a lawyer
at all stages of the proceedings and the law shall determine the circumstances
for which the presence of the lawyer is mandatory.
3. Every individual is guaranteed the inviolable right of hearing and
defence in criminal proceedings.
4. Evidence is of no effect if obtained by torture, coercion, infringement
of the physical or moral integrity of the individual, or wrongful interference
with private life, the home, correspondence or other forms of communication.
(Extradition and expulsion)
1. Extradition shall only take place following a court decision.
2. Extradition on political grounds is prohibited.
3. Extradition in respect of offences punishable, under the law of the
requesting State, by death penalty or life imprisonment or whenever there are
grounds to assume that the person to be extradited may be subjected to torture
and inhuman, degrading and cruel treatment, shall not be permitted.
4. An East Timorese national shall not be expelled or expatriated from the
(Right to honour and privacy)
Every individual has the right to honour, good record and reputation,
protection of his or her public image and privacy of his or her personal and
(Inviolability of home and correspondence)
1. Any person's home and the privacy of his or her correspondence and other
means of private communication are inviolable, except in cases provided for by
law as a result of criminal proceedings.
2. A person's home shall not be entered against his or her will, except
under the written order of a competent judicial authority and in the cases and
manner prescribed by law.
3. Entry into any person's home at night against his or her will is clearly
prohibited, except in case of serious threat to life or physical integrity of
somebody inside the home.
(Protection of personal data)
1. Every citizen has the right to access personal data stored in a computer
system or entered into mechanical or manual records regarding him or her, and
he or she may require correction and up-date thereof and has the right to know
2. The law shall determine the concept of personal data, as well as the
conditions applicable to the processing thereof.
3. The processing of personal data on private life, political and
philosophical convictions, religious faith, party or trade union membership and
ethnical origin, without the consent of the interested person, is prohibited.
(Family, marriage and maternity)
1. The State shall protect the family as the society's basic unit and a
condition for the harmonious development of the individual.
2. Every one has the right to establish and live in a family.
3. Marriage shall be based upon free consent by the parties and on terms of
full equality of rights between spouses, in accordance with the law.
4. Maternity shall be dignified and protected, and special protection shall
be guaranteed to all women during pregnancy and after delivery and working
women shall have the right to be exempted from the workplace for an adequate
period before and after delivery, without loss of remuneration or any other
benefits, in accordance with the law.
(Freedom of speech and information)
1. Every person has the right to freedom of speech and the right to inform
and be informed impartially.
2. The exercise of freedom of speech and information shall not be limited by
any sort of censorship.
3. The exercise of rights and freedoms referred to in this Section shall be
regulated by law based on the imperative of respect for the Constitution and
the dignity of the human person.
(Freedom of the press and mass media)
1. Freedom of the press and other mass media is guaranteed.
2. Freedom of the press shall comprise, namely, the freedom of speech and
creativity for journalists, the access to information sources, editorial
freedom, protection of independence and professional confidentiality, and the
right to create newspapers, publications and other means of broadcasting.
3. The monopoly on the mass media shall be prohibited.
4. The State shall guarantee the freedom and independence of the public mass
media from political and economic powers.
5. The State shall guarantee the existence of a public radio and television
service that is impartial in order to, inter-alia, protect and
disseminate the culture and the traditional values of the Democratic Republic
of East Timor and guarantee opportunities for the expression of different lines
6. Radio and television stations shall operate only under a licence, in
accordance with the law.
(Freedom to assemble and demonstrate)
1. Everyone is guaranteed the freedom to assemble peacefully and unarmed,
without a need for prior authorisation.
2. Everyone is recognised the right to demonstrate in accordance with the
(Freedom of association)
1. Everyone is guaranteed freedom of association provided that the
association is not intended to promote violence and is in accordance with the
2. No one shall be compelled to join an association or to remain in it
against his or her will.
3. The establishment of armed, military or paramilitary associations,
including organisations of a racist or xenophobic nature or that promote
terrorism, shall be prohibited.
(Freedom of movement)
1. Every person has the right to move freely and to settle anywhere in the
2. Every citizen is guaranteed the right to emigrate freely and to return to
(Freedom of conscience, religion and worship)
1. Every person is guaranteed the freedom of conscience, religion and
worship and the religious denominations are separated from the State.
2. No one shall be persecuted or discriminated against on the basis of his
or her religious convictions.
3. The right to be a conscientious objector shall be guaranteed in
accordance with the law.
4. Freedom to teach any religion in the framework of the respective
religious denomination is guaranteed.
(Right to political participation)
1. Every citizen has the right to participate in the political life and in
the public affairs of the country, either directly or through democratically
2. Every citizen has the right to establish and to participate in political
3. The establishment and organisation of political parties shall be
regulated by law.
(Right to vote)
1. Every citizen over the age of seventeen has the right to vote and to be
2. The exercise of the right to vote is personal and constitutes a civic
(Right to petition)
Every citizen has the right to submit, individually or jointly with others,
petitions, complaints and claims to organs of sovereignty or any authority for
the purpose of defending his or her rights, the Constitution, the law or
(Defence of Sovereignty)
1. Every citizen has the right and the duty to contribute towards the
defence of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
2. Serving in the army shall take place in accordance with the law.
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
(Right to work)
1. Every citizen, regardless of gender, has the right and the duty to work
and to choose freely his or her profession.
2. The worker has the right to labour safety and hygiene, remuneration, rest
3. Dismissal without just cause or on political, religious and ideological
grounds is prohibited.
4. Compulsory work, without prejudice to the cases provided for under penal
legislation, is prohibited.
5. The State shall promote the establishment of co-operatives of production
and shall lend support to household businesses as sources of employment.
(Right to strike and prohibition of lock-out)
1. Every worker has the right to resort to strike, the exercise of which
shall be regulated by law.
2. The law shall determine the conditions under which services are provided,
during a strike, that are necessary for the safety and maintenance of equipment
and facilities, as well as minimum services that are necessary to meet
essential social needs.
3. Lock-out is prohibited.
(Trade union freedom)
1. Every worker has the right to form or join trade unions and professional
associations in defence of his or her rights and interests.
2. Trade union freedom is sub-divided, namely, into freedom of
establishment, freedom of membership and freedom of organisation and internal
3. Trade unions and trade union associations shall be independent of the
State and the employers.
1. Consumers have the right to goods and services of good quality, to
truthful information and protection of their health, safety and economic
interests, and to reparation for damages.
2. Advertising shall be regulated by law, and all forms of concealed,
indirect or misleading advertising are prohibited.
(Right to private property)
1. Every individual has the right to private property and can transfer it
during his or her lifetime or on death, in accordance with the law.
2. Private property should not be used to the detriment of its social
3. Requisitioning and expropriation of property for public purposes shall
only take place following fair compensation in accordance with the law.
4. Only national citizens have the right to ownership of land.
(Obligations of the taxpayer)
Every citizen with a certified income has the duty to pay tax in order to
contribute to public revenues.
(Social security and assistance)
1. Every citizen is entitled to social assistance and security in accordance
with the law.
2. The State shall promote, in accordance with its national resources, the
establishment of a social security system.
3. The State shall support and supervise the activity and functioning of
institutions of social solidarity and other non-profit institutions of
recognised public interest, in accordance with the law.
1. Everyone has the right to health and medical care, and the duty to
protect and promote them.
2. The State shall promote the establishment of a national health service
that is universal and general. The national health service shall be free of
charge in accordance with the possibilities of the State and in conformity with
3. The national health service shall have, as much as possible, a
decentralised participatory management.
Everyone has the right to a house, both for himself or herself and for his
or her family, of adequate size that meets satisfactory standards of hygiene
and comfort and preserves personal intimacy and family privacy.
(Education and culture)
1. The State shall recognise and guarantee that every citizen has the right
to education and culture, and it is incumbent upon it to promote the
establishment of a public system of universal and compulsory basic education
that is free of charge in accordance with its possibilities and in conformity
with the law.
2. Everyone has the right to equal opportunities for education and
3. The State shall recognise and supervise private and co-operative
4. The State should ensure the access of every citizen, in accordance to
their abilities, to the highest levels of education, scientific research and
5. Everyone has the right to cultural enjoyment and creativity and the duty
to preserve, protect and value cultural heritage.
The State shall guarantee and protect the creation, production and
commercialisation of literary, scientific and artistic work, including the
legal protection of copyrights.
1. Everyone has the right to a humane, healthy, and ecologically balanced
environment and the duty to protect it and improve it for the benefit of the
2. The State shall recognise the need to preserve and rationalise natural
3. The State should promote actions aimed at protecting the environment and
safeguarding the sustainable development of the economy.
ORGANIZATION OF POLITICAL POWER
(Source and exercise of political power)
Political power lies with the people and is exercised in accordance with the
terms of the Constitution.
(Participation by citizens in political life)
1. Direct and active participation by men and women in political life is a
requirement of, and a fundamental instrument for consolidating, the democratic
2. The law shall promote equality in the exercise of civil and political
rights and non-discrimination on the basis of gender for access to political
(Principle of Renewal)
No one shall hold any political office for life, or for indefinite periods
1. Elected organs of sovereignty and of local government shall be chosen by
free, direct, secret, personal and regular universal suffrage.
2. Registration of voters shall be compulsory and officially initiated,
single and universal, to be up-dated for each election.
3. Electoral campaigns shall be governed in accordance with the following
a) Freedom to canvass;
b) Equality of opportunity and treatment for all candidacies;
c) Impartiality towards candidacies on the part of public bodies;
d) Transparency and supervision of electoral expenses.
4. Conversion of the votes into mandates shall observe the principle of
5. The electoral process shall be regulated by law.
6. Supervision of voters' registration and electoral acts shall be incumbent
upon an independent organ, the competences , composition , organization and
functioning of which shall be established by law.
1. Voters who are registered in the national territory may be called upon to
express their opinions in a referendum on issues of relevant national interest.
2. A referendum shall be called by the President of the Republic, following
a proposal by one third, and deliberation approved by a two thirds majority, of
the Members of the National Parliament, or following a well-founded proposal by
3. Matters falling under the exclusive competence of the Parliament, the
Government and the Courts as defined by the Constitution shall not be the
subject of a referendum.
4. A referendum shall only be binding where the number of voters is higher
than half of the registered electors .
5. The process of a referendum shall be defined by law.
(Organs of Sovereignty)
The organs of sovereignty shall comprise the President of the Republic, the
National Parliament, the Government and the Courts.
1. The holding of the offices of President of the Republic, Speaker of the
National Parliament, President of the Supreme Court of Justice, President of
the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court, Prosecutor-General and member of
Government shall be incompatible with one another.
2. The law shall define other incompatibilities.
(Principle of separation of powers)
Organs of sovereignty, in their reciprocal relationship and exercise of
their functions, shall observe the principle of separation and interdependence
of powers established in the Constitution.
(Political parties and the right of opposition)
1. Political parties shall participate in organs of political power in
accordance with their democratic representation based on direct and universal
2. The right of political parties to democratic opposition, as well as the
right to be informed regularly and directly on the progress of the main issues
of public interest, shall be recognised.
1. The central government should be represented at the different
administrative levels of the country.
2. Oecussi Ambeno shall be governed by a special administrative policy and
3. Ata˙ro shall enjoy an appropriate economic status.
4. The political and administrative organisation of the territory of the
Democratic Republic of East Timor shall be defined by law.
1. Local government is constituted by corporate bodies vested with
representative organs, with the objective of organising the participation by
citizens in solving the problems of their own community and promoting local
development without prejudice to the participation by the State.
2. The organisation, competence, functioning and composition of the organs
of local government shall be defined by law.
(Publication of legislation and decisions)
1. Legislation and decisions shall be published by the organs of sovereignty
in the official gazette.
2. Failure to publish any of the legislation or decisions specified in item
1 above or decisions of a general nature taken by the organs of sovereignty or
local government shall render them null and void.
3. The form of publication of other legislation and decisions, and the
consequences of the failure to do so, shall be determined by law.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
STATUS, ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT
1. The President of the Republic is the Head of State and the symbol and
guarantor of national independence and unity of the State and of the smooth
functioning of democratic institutions.
2. The President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the Defence
1. To stand as presidential candidates, East Timorese citizens should meet
cumulatively the following requirements:
a) original citizenship;
b) at least 35 (Thirty -five) years of age;
c) to be in possession of his or her full faculties;
d) to be proposed by a minimum of five thousand voters.
2. The President of the Republic has a term of office of 5 years and shall
cease his or her functions with the swearing-in of the new President-elect.
3. The President of the Republic's term of office may be renewed only once.
1. The President of the Republic shall be elected by universal, free,
direct, secret, and personal suffrage.
2. The election of the President of the Republic shall be conducted through
the system based on the majority of validly expressed votes, excluding blank
3. Where no candidate gets more than half of the votes, a second round shall
take place on the 30th day following the first voting.
4. Only the two candidates obtaining the highest number of votes shall be
eligible to stand in a run-off election, provided they have not withdrawn their
(Inauguration and swearing-in)
1. The President of the Republic shall be sworn in by the Speaker of the
National Parliament and shall be inaugurated in public ceremony before the
members of the National Parliament and the representatives of the other organs
2. The inauguration shall take place on the last day of the term of office
of the outgoing President or, in case of election due to vacancy, on the eighth
day following the publication of the electoral results.
3. At the swearing-in ceremony, the President of the Republic shall take the
"I swear to God, to the people and on my honour that I will fulfil
with loyalty the functions that have been invested in me, will abide by and
enforce the Constitution and the laws and will dedicate all my energies to the
defence and consolidation of independence and national unity."
The President of the Republic shall not hold any other political position or
public office at the national level, and under no circumstances shall he or she
undertake private assignments.
(Criminal liability and Constitutional Obligations)
1. The President of the Republic shall enjoy immunity in the exercise of his
or her functions.
2. The President of the Republic shall be answerable before the Supreme
Court of Justice for crimes committed in the exercise of his or her functions
and for clear and serious violation of his or her constitutional obligations.
3. It is the incumbent upon the National Parliament to initiate the criminal
proceedings, following a proposal made by one-fifth, and deliberation approved
by a two-third majority, of its Members.
4. The Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice shall issue a judgment within
a maximum of 30 days.
5. Conviction shall result in forfeiture of office and disqualification from
6. For crimes not committed in the exercise of his or her functions, the
President of the Republic shall also be answerable before the Supreme Court of
Justice, and forfeiture of office shall only occur in case of sentence to
7. In the cases provided for under the previous item, immunity shall be
withdrawn at the initiative of the National Parliament in accordance with
provisions of item 3 of this Section.
1. The President of the Republic shall not be absent from the national
territory without the previous consent of the National Parliament or of its
Standing Committee, if Parliament is in recession.
2. Failure to observe provision of item 1 above shall imply forfeiture of
the office, as provided for by the previous Section.
3. The President of the Republic's private visits not exceeding fifteen days
shall not require the consent of the National Parliament. Nonetheless, the
President of the Republic should notify the National Parliament of such visits
(Resignation of Office)
1. The President of the Republic may resign from office by message addressed
to the National Parliament.
2. Resignation shall take effect once the message is made known to the
National Parliament without prejudice to its subsequent publication in the
3. Where the President of the Republic resigns from office, he or she shall
not be eligible to stand for presidential elections immediately after
resignation nor in the regular elections to be held after five years.
(Death, resignation or permanent disability)
1. In case of death, resignation or permanent disability of the President of
the Republic, his or her functions shall be taken over on an interim basis by
the Speaker of the National Parliament, who shall be sworn in by the Speaker
a.i. of the National Parliament before the Members of the National Parliament
and representatives of the organs of sovereignty.
2. Permanent disability shall be declared by the Supreme Court of Justice,
which shall also have the responsibility to confirm the death of the President
of the Republic and the vacancy of office resulting therefrom.
3. The election of a new President of the Republic in case of death,
resignation or permanent disability should take place within the subsequent
ninety days, after certification or declaration of death, resignation or
4. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a new term of office.
5. In case of refusal by the President-elected to take office or in case of
his or her death or permanent disability, the provisions of this Section shall
1. Where death, resignation or permanent disability occur in the imminence
of exceptional situations of war or protracted emergency, or of an
insurmountable difficulty of a technical or material nature, to be defined by
law, preventing the holding of a presidential election by universal suffrage as
provided for by Section 76, the new President of the Republic shall be elected
by the National Parliament from among its members within the ninety subsequent
2. In the cases referred to in the previous item, the President-elect shall
serve for the remainder of the interrupted term and he or she may run for the
(Replacement and interim office)
1. During temporary impediment of the President of the Republic, the
presidential functions shall be taken over by the Speaker of National
Parliament or, in case of impediment of the latter, by his or her replacement.
2. The parliamentary mandate of the Speaker of the National Parliament or of
his or her replacement shall be automatically suspended over the period of time
in which he or she holds the office of President of the Republic on an interim
3. The parliamentary functions of the replacing or interim President of the
Republic shall be temporarily taken over in accordance with the Rules of
Procedures of the National Parliament.
It is exclusively incumbent upon the President of the Republic:
a) To promulgate statutes and order the publication of resolutions by the
National Parliament approving agreements and ratifying international treaties
b) Exercise competencies inherent in the functions of Supreme Commander of
the Defence Force;
c) To exercise the right of veto regarding any statutes within 30 days from
the date of their receipt;
d) To appoint and swear in the Prime Minister designated by the party or
alliance of parties with parliamentary majority after consultation with
political parties sitting in the National Parliament;
e) To request the Supreme Court of Justice to undertake preventive appraisal
and abstract review of the constitutionality of the rules, as well as
verification of unconstitutionality by omission.
f) To submit relevant issues of national interest to a referendum as laid
down in Section 66;
g) To declare the state of siege or the state of emergency following
authorisation of the National Parliament, after consultation with the Council
of State, the Government and the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;
h) To declare war and make peace following a Government proposal, after
consultation with the Council of State and the Supreme Council of Defence and
Security, under authorisation of the National Parliament;
i) To grant pardons and commute sentences after consultation with the
j) To award honorary titles, decorations and merits in accordance with the
(Competencies with regard to other organs)
It is incumbent upon the President of the Republic, with regard to other
a) To chair the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;
b) To chair the Council of State;
c) To set dates for presidential and legislative elections in accordance
with the Law;
d) To request the convening of extraordinary sessions of the National
Parliament, whenever imperative reasons of national interest so justify;
e) To address messages to the National Parliament and the country;
f) To dissolve the National Parliament in case of a serious institutional
crisis preventing the formation of a government or the approval of the State
Budget and lasting more than sixty days, after consultation with political
parties sitting in the Parliament and with the Council of State, on pain of
rendering the dissolution null and void, taking into consideration provisions
of Section 100;
g) To dismiss the Government and remove the Prime Minister from office after
the National Parliament has rejected his or her programme for two consecutive
h) To appoint, swear in and remove Government Members from office,
following a proposal by the Prime-Minister, in accordance with item 2, Section
i) To appoint two members for the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;
j) To appoint the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and swear in the
President of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court;
k) To appoint the Prosecutor-General for a term of four years;
l) To appoint and dismiss the Deputy Prosecutor-General s in accordance with
item 6, Section 133;
m) To appoint and dismiss, following proposal by the Government, the General
Chief of Staff of the Defence Force, the Deputy General Chief of Staff of the
Defence Force, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Defence Force, after consultation
with the General Chief of Staff regarding the latter two cases;
n) To appoint five Members for the Council of State;
o) To appoint one member for the Superior Council for the Judiciary and for
the Superior Council for the Public Prosecution.
(Competencies with regard to International Relations)
It is incumbent upon the President of the Republic, in the field of
a) To declare war in case of effective or imminent aggression and make
peace, following proposal by the Government, after consultation with the
Supreme Council for Defence and Security and following authorisation of the
National Parliament or of its Standing Committee.
b) To appoint and dismiss ambassadors, permanent representatives and special
envoys, following proposal by the Government;
c) To receive credential letters and accredit foreign diplomatic
d) Conduct, in consultation with the Government, any negotiation process
towards the completion of international agreements in the field of defence and
(Promulgation and veto)
1. Within thirty days after receiving any statute from the National
Parliament for the purpose of its promulgation as law, the President of the
Republic shall either promulgate the statute or exercise the right of veto, in
which case he or she, based on substantive grounds, shall send a message to the
National Parliament requesting a new appraisal of the statute.
2. If, within ninety days, the National Parliament confirms its vote by an
absolute majority of its Members in full exercise of their functions, the
President of the Republic shall promulgate the statute within eight days after
3. However, a majority of two-thirds of the Members present shall be
required to ratify statutes on matters provided for in Section 95 where that
majority exceeds an absolute majority of the Members in full exercise of their
4. Within forty days after receiving any statute from the Government for the
purpose of its promulgation as law, the President of the Republic shall either
promulgate the instrument or exercise the right of veto by way of a written
communication to the Government containing the reasons for the veto.
Powers of an interim President of the Republic
An interim President of the Republic does not have any of the powers
specified in following items f), g), h), i), j), k), l), m), n) and o) of
COUNCIL OF STATE
(Council of State)
1. The Council of State is the political advisory body of the President of
the Republic and shall be headed by him or herself.
2. The Council of State shall comprise:
a) Former Presidents of the Republic who were not removed from office;
b) The Speaker of the National Parliament;
c) The Prime Minister;
d) Five citizens elected by the National Parliament in accordance with the
principle of proportional representation and for the period corresponding to
the legislative term, provided that they are not members of the organs of
e) Five citizens designated by the President of the Republic for the period
corresponding to the term of office of the President, provided that they are
not members of the organs of sovereignty.
(Competence, organisation and functioning of the Council
1. It is incumbent upon the Council of State:
a) Express its opinion on the dissolution of the National Parliament;
b) Express its opinion on the dismissal of the Government;
c) Express its opinion on the declaration of war and the making of peace;
d) Express its opinion on any other cases set out in the Constitution and
advise the President of the Republic in the exercise of his or her functions,
as requested by the President;
e) To draft its Rules of Procedures;
2. The meetings of the Council of State shall not be open to the public.
3. The organisation and functioning of the Council of State shall be
established by law.
STATUS AND ELECTION
The National Parliament is the organ of sovereignty of the Democratic
Republic of East Timor that represents all Timorese citizens and is vested with
legislative supervisory and political decision making powers.
(Election and composition)
1. The National Parliament shall be elected by universal, free, direct,
equal, secret and personal suffrage.
2. The National Parliament shall be made up of a minimum of
fifty-two and a maximum of sixty-five Members.
3. The law shall establish the rules relating to constituencies, eligibility
conditions, nominations and electoral procedures.
4. Members of the National Parliament shall have a term of office of five
1. The Members of National Parliament shall not be held liable for civil,
criminal or disciplinary proceedings in regard to votes and opinions expressed
by them while performing their functions.
2. Parliamentary immunities may be withdrawn in accordance with the Rules of
Procedures of the National Parliament.
(Competence of the National Parliament)
1. It is incumbent upon the National Parliament to make laws on basic issues
of the country's domestic and foreign policy.
2. It is exclusively incumbent upon the National Parliament to make laws on:
a) The borders of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, in accordance with
b) The limits of the territorial waters, of the exclusive economic area and
of the rights of East Timor to the adjacent area and the continental shelf;
c) National symbols, in accordance with item 2 of Section 14;
e) Rights, freedoms and guarantees;
f) The status and capacity of people, family law and descent law;
g) Territorial division;
h) The electoral law and the referendum system;
i) Political parties and associations;
j) The status of Members of the National Parliament;
k) The status of office holders in the organs of State;
l) The bases for the education system;
m) The bases for the health and social security system;
n) The suspension of constitutional guarantees and the declaration of the
state of siege and the state of emergency;
o) The Defence and Security policy;
p) The tax policy;
q) The budget system.
3. It is also incumbent up on the National Parliament:
a) To ratify the appointment of the President of the Supreme Court of
Justice and of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court;
b) To deliberate on progress reports submitted by the Government;
c) To elect one member for the Superior Council for the Judiciary and the
Superior Council for the Public Persecution;
d) To deliberate on the State Plan and Budget and the
execution report thereof;
e) To monitor the execution of the State budget;
f) To approve and denounce agreements and ratify international treaties and
g) To grant amnesty;
h) To give consent to trips by the President of the Republic on State
i) To approve revisions of the Constitution by a majority of two-thirds of
the Members of Parliament;
j) To authorise and confirm the declaration of the state of siege or the
state of emergency;
k) To propose to the President of the Republic the submission to referendum
of issues of national interest.
4. It is also incumbent upon the National Parliament:
a) To elect its Speaker and other members of the Chair;
b) To elect five members for the Council of State;
c) To prepare and approve its Rules of Procedure;
d) To set up the Standing Committee and establish the other parliamentary
1. The National Parliament may authorise the Government to make laws on the
a) Definition of crimes, sentences, security measures and respective
b) Definition of civil and criminal procedure;
c) Organisation of the Judiciary and status of magistrates;
d) General rules and regulations for the public service, the status of the
civil servants and the responsibility of the State;
e) General bases for the organisation of public administration;
f) Monetary system;
g) Banking and financial system;
h) Definition of the bases for a policy on environment protection and
i) General rules and regulations for radio and television broadcasting and
other mass media;
j) Civic or military service;
k) General rules and regulations for requisition and expropriation for
l) Means and ways of intervention, expropriation, nationalisation and
privatisation of means of production and soils on grounds of public interest,
as well as criteria for the establishment of compensations in such cases.
2. Laws on legislative authorisation shall define the subject, sense, scope
and duration of the authorisation, which may be renewed.
3. Laws on legislative authorisation shall not be used more than once and
shall lapse with the dismissal of the Government, with the end of the
legislative term or with the dissolution of the National Parliament.
(Legislative initiative )
1. The power to initiate laws lies with:
2. The Members of Parliament;
3. The parliamentary groups;
4. The Government.
5. There shall be no submission of bills, draft legislation or amendments
involving, in any given fiscal year, any increase in State expenditure or any
reduction in State revenues provided for in the Budget or Rectifying Budgets.
6. Bills and draft legislation that have been rejected shall not be
re-introduced in the same legislative session in which they have been tabled.
7. Bills and draft legislation that have not been voted on shall not need to
be re-introduced in the ensuing legislative session, except in case of end of
the legislative term.
8. Draft legislation shall lapse with the dismissal of the Government.
(Parliamentary appraisal of statutes)
1. Statutes other than those approved under the exclusive legislative powers
of the Government may be submitted to the National Parliament for appraisal,
for purposes of terminating their validity or for amendment, following a
petition of one-fifth of the Members of Parliament and within thirty days
following their publication. This timeframe shall exclude the days when the
functioning of the National Parliament is suspended.
2. The National Parliament may suspend, in part or in full, the force of a
statute until it is appraised.
3. The suspension shall lapse after the National Parliament has held 10
plenary meetings without taking a final decision.
4. Where termination of validity is approved, the statute shall cease to be
in force from the date of the publication of the resolution in the Official
Gazette, and it shall not be published again in the same legislative session.
5. The process shall lapse if, after a statute has been submitted for
appraisal, the National Parliament takes no decision on it, or, having decided
to make amendments, it does not approve a law to that effect before the
corresponding legislative session ends, provided fifteen plenary meetings have
ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONING
1. The legislative term shall comprise five legislative sessions, and each
legislative session shall have the duration of one year.
2. The regular period of functioning of the National Parliament shall be
defined by the Rules of Procedure.
3. The National Parliament convenes on a regular basis following notice by
4. The National Parliament convenes on an extraordinary basis whenever so
deliberated by the Standing Committee, at the request of one third of Members
or following notice of the President of the Republic with a view to addressing
5. In case of dissolution, the elected National Parliament shall commence a
new legislative term, the length of which shall be increased by the time needed
to complete the legislative session in progress at the date of the election.
1. The National Parliament shall not be dissolved during the 6 months
immediately following its election, during the last half-year of the term of
office of the President of the Republic or during a state of siege or a state
of emergency, on pain of rendering the act of dissolution null and void.
2. The dissolution of the National Parliament does not affect the
continuance in office of its Members until the first meeting of the National
Parliament after the ensuing election.
(Attendance by Members of the Government)
1. Members of the Government have the right to attend plenary sessions of
the National Parliament and may take the floor as provided for in the rules of
2. Sittings shall be fixed at which members of the Government shall be
present to answer questions from Members of Parliament in accordance with the
Rules of Procedure.
3. The National Parliament or its Committees may request members of the
Governments to take part in their proceedings.
1. The Standing Committee shall sit when the National Parliament is
dissolved or in recession and in the other cases provided for in the
2. The Standing Committee shall be presided over by the Speaker of the
National Parliament and shall be comprised of Deputy Speakers and Parliament
Members designated by the parties sitting in the Parliament in accordance with
their respective representation.
3. It is incumbent upon the Standing Committee:
a) To follow-up the activities of the Government and the Public
b) To co-ordinate the activities of the Committees of the National
c) To take steps for the convening of Parliament whenever deemed necessary;
d) To prepare and organise sessions of the National Parliament;
e) To give its consent regarding trips by the President of the Republic in
accordance with Section 80;
f) To lead relations between the National Parliament and similar parliaments
and institutions of other countries;
g) To authorise the declaration of the state of siege or the state of
DEFINITION AND STRUCTURE
The Government is the organ of sovereignty responsible for conducting and
executing the general policy of the country and is the supreme organ of Public
1. The Government shall comprise the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the
Secretaries of State.
2. The Government may include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers and Deputy
3. The number, titles and competencies of ministries and secretariats of
State shall be laid down in a Government statute.
(Council of Ministers)
1. The Council of Ministers shall comprise the Prime Minister, the Deputy
Prime Ministers, if any, and the Ministers.
2. The Council of Ministers shall be convened and chaired by the Prime
3. The Deputy Ministers, if any, and the Secretaries of State may be
required to attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, without a right to
FORMATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
1. The Prime Minister shall be designated by the political party or alliance
of political parties with parliamentary majority and shall be appointed by the
President of the Republic, after consultation with the political parties
sitting in the National Parliament.
2. The remaining members of the Government shall be appointed by the
President of the Republic following proposal by the Prime Minister.
(Responsibility of the Government)
The Government shall be accountable to the President of the Republic and to
the National Parliament for conducting and executing the domestic and foreign
policy in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
(The Programme of the Government)
1. Once appointed, the Government should develop its programme, which should
include the objectives and tasks proposed, the actions to be taken and the main
political guidelines to be followed in the fields of government activity.
2. Once approved by the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister shall,
within a maximum of thirty days after appointment of the Government, submit the
Programme of Government to the National Parliament for consideration.
(Consideration of the Programme of Government)
1. The Programme of the Government shall be submitted to the National
Parliament for consideration. Where the National Parliament is not in session,
its convening for this purpose shall be mandatory.
2. Debate on the programme of the Government shall not exceed five days and,
prior to its closing, any parliamentary group may propose its rejection or the
Government may request the approval of a vote of confidence.
3. Rejection of the programme of the Government shall require an absolute
majority of the Members in full exercise of their functions.
(Request for vote of confidence)
The Government may request the National Parliament to take a vote of
confidence on a statement of general policy or on any relevant matter of
(Vote of no confidence)
1. The National Parliament may, following proposal by one-quarter of the
Members in full exercise of their functions, pass a vote of no confidence on
the Government with respect to the implementation of its programme or any
relevant matter of national interest.
2. Where a vote of no confidence is not passed, its signatories shall not
move another vote of no confidence during the same legislative session.
(Dismissal of the Government)
1. The dismissal of the Government shall occur when:
a) A new legislative term begins;
b) The President of the Republic accepts the resignation of the Prime
c) The Prime Minister dies or is suffering from a permanent physical
d) Its programme is rejected for the second consecutive time;
e) A vote of confidence is not passed;
f) A vote of no confidence is passed by an absolute majority of the Members
in full exercise of their functions;
2. The President of the Republic shall only dismiss the Prime Minister in
accordance with the cases provided for in the previous item and when it is
deemed necessary to ensure the regular functioning of the democratic
institutions, after consultation with the Council of State.
(Criminal liability of the members of Government)
1. Where a member of the Government is charged with a criminal offence
punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for more than two years, he or she
shall be suspended from his or her functions so that the proceedings can be
2. Where a member of the Government is charged with a criminal offence
punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for a maximum of two years, the
National Parliament shall decide whether or not that member of the Government
shall be suspended so that the proceedings can be pursued.
(Immunities for members of the Government)
No member of the Government may be detained or imprisoned without the
permission of the National Parliament, except for a felonious crime punishable
with a maximum sentence of imprisonment for more than two years and in
(Competence of the Government)
1. It is incumbent upon the Government:
a) To define and implement the general policy of the country, following its
approval by the National Parliament;
b) To guarantee the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the
c) To ensure public order and social discipline;
d) To prepare the State Plan and the State Budget and execute them following
their approval by the National Parliament;
e) To regulate economic and social sector activities;
f) To prepare and negotiate treaties and agreements and enter into, approve,
accede and denounce international agreements which do not fall under the
competence of the National Parliament or of the President of the Republic;
g) To define and implement the foreign policy of the country;
h) To ensure the representation of the Democratic Republic of East Timor in
the international relations;
i) To lead the social and economic sectors of the State;
j) To lead the labour and social security policy;
k) To guarantee the defence and consolidation of the public domain and the
property of the State;
l) To lead and co-ordinate the activities of the ministries as well as the
activities of the remaining institutions answerable to the Council of
m) To promote the development of the co-operative sector and the support for
n) To support private enterprise initiatives;
o) To take actions and make all the arrangements necessary to promote
economic and social development and to meet the needs of the Timorese people;
p) To exercise any other competencies as provided by the Constitution and
2. It is also incumbent upon the Government in relation with other organs :
a) To submit bills and draft resolutions to the National Parliament;
b) To propose to the President of the Republic the declaration of war or the
making of peace;
c) To propose to the President of the Republic the declaration of the state
of siege or the state of emergency;
d) To propose to the President of the Republic the submission to referendum
of relevant issues of national interest;
e) To propose to the President of the Republic the appointment of
ambassadors, permanent representatives and special envoys;
3. The Government has exclusive legislative powers on matters concerning its
own organisation and functioning, as well as on the direct and indirect
management of the State.
(Competencies of the Council of Ministers)
It is incumbent upon the Council of Ministers:
a) To define the general guidelines of the government policy as well as
those for its implementation;
b) To deliberate on a request for a vote of confidence from the National
c) To approve bills and draft resolutions;
d) To approve statutes, as well as international agreements that are not
required to be submitted to the National Parliament;
e) To approve actions by the Government that involve an increase or decrease
in public revenues or expenditures;
f) To approve plans.
(Competencies of members of the Government)
1. 1.It is incumbent upon the Prime Minister:
a) To be the Head of Government;
b) To chair the Council of Ministers;
c) To lead and guide the general policy of the Government and co-ordinate
the activities of all Ministers, without prejudice to the direct responsibility
of each Minister for his or her respective governmental department.
d) To keep the President of the Republic informed on matters of domestic and
foreign policy of the Government;
e) To perform other duties conferred by the Constitution and the law.
2. It is incumbent upon the Ministers:
a) To implement the policy defined for their respective Ministries;
b) To ensure relations between the Government and the other organs of the
State in the area of responsibility of their respective Ministries.
3. Government statutes shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the
Ministers in charge of the respective subject matter.
COURTS AND THE JUDICIARY
1. Courts are organs of sovereignty with competencies to administer justice
in the name of the people.
2. In performing their functions, the courts shall be entitled to the
assistance of other authorities.
3. Court decisions shall be binding and shall prevail over the decisions of
any other authority.
Courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law.
Review of unconstitutionality
The courts shall not apply rules that contravene the Constitution or the
principles contained therein.
1. Jurisdiction lies exclusively with the judges installed in accordance
with the law.
2. In performing their functions, judges are independent and owe obedience
only to the Constitution, the law and to their own conscience.
3. Judges have security of tenure and, unless otherwise provided for by law,
may not be transferred, suspended, retired or removed from office.
4. To guarantee their independence, judges may not be held liable for their
judgments and decisions, except in the circumstances provided for by law.
5. The law shall regulate the judicial organisation and the status of the
judges of the courts of law.
Judges in office may not perform any other functions, whether public or
private, other than teaching or legal research, in accordance with the law.
Categories of courts
1. There shall be the following categories of courts in the Democratic
Republic of East Timor:
a) The Supreme Court of Justice and other courts of law;
b) The High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court and other administrative
courts of first instance;
c) Military Courts.
2. Courts of exception shall be prohibited and there shall be no special
courts to judge certain categories of criminal offence.
3. There may be Maritime Courts and Arbitration Courts.
4. The law shall determine the establishment, organisation and functioning
of the courts provided for in the preceding items.
5. The law may institutionalise means and ways for the non-jurisdictional
resolution of disputes.
(Supreme Court of Justice)
1. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of law and the
guarantor of a uniform enforcement of the law, and has jurisdiction throughout
the national territory.
2. It is also incumbent on the Supreme Court of Justice to administer
justice on matters of legal, constitutional and electoral nature.
3. The President of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be appointed by the
President of the Republic from among judges of the Supreme Court of Justice for
a term of office of four years.
(Functioning and Composition)
1. The Supreme Court of Justice shall operate:
a) In sections, like a court of first instance, in the cases provided for in
b) In plenary, like a court of second and single instance, in the cases
expressly provided for in the law;
2. The Supreme Court of Justice shall consist of career judges, magistrates
of the Public Prosecution or jurists of recognised merit in number to be
established by law, as follows:
a) One elected by the National Parliament;
b) And all the others designated by the Superior Council for the Judiciary.
(Electoral and Constitutional Competence)
1. It is incumbent upon the Supreme Court of Justice, on legal and
a) To review and declare the unconstitutionality and illegality of normative
and legislative acts by the organs of the State;
b) To provide an anticipatory verification of the legality and
constitutionality of the statutes and referenda;
c) To verify cases of unconstitutionality by omission;
d) To rule, as a venue of appeal, on the suppression of norms considered
unconstitutional by the courts of instance;
e) To verify the legality regarding the establishment of political parties
and their coalitions and order their registration or dissolution, in accordance
with the Constitution and the law;
f) To exercise all other competencies provided for by the Constitution or
2. It is incumbent upon the Supreme Court of Justice, in the specific field
a) To verify the legal requirements for candidates for the office of
President of the Republic;
b) To certify at last instance the regularity and validity of the acts of
the electoral process, in accordance with the respective law;
c) To validate and proclaim the results of the electoral process.
1. Only career judges or magistrates of the Public Prosecution or jurists of
recognised merit of East Timorese nationality may become members of the Supreme
Court of Justice.
2. In addition to the requirements referred to in the preceding item, the
law may define other requirements.
(Superior Council for the Judiciary )
1. The Superior Council for the Judiciary is the organ of management and
discipline of the judges of the courts and it is incumbent upon it to appoint,
assign, transfer and promote the judges.
2. The Superior Council for the Judiciary shall be presided over by the
President of the Supreme Court of Justice and shall have the following members:
a) One designated by the President of the Republic;
b) One elected by the National Parliament;
c) One designated by the Government;
d) One elected by the judges of the courts of law from among their peers;
3. The law shall regulate the competence, organisation and functioning of
the Superior Council for the Judiciary.
(High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court)
1. The High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court is the highest body in the
hierarchy of the administrative, tax and audit courts, without prejudice to the
competence of the Supreme Court of Justice.
2. The President of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court is elected
from among and by respective judges for a term of office of four years.
3. It is incumbent upon the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court as a
single instance to monitor the lawfulness of public expenditure and to audit
4. It is incumbent upon the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court and the
administrative and tax courts of first instance:
a) To judge actions aiming at resolving disputes arising from legal, fiscal
and administrative relations;
b) To judge contentious appeals against decisions made by State organs,
their respective office holders and agents;
c) To perform all the other functions as established by law.