Political upheavals and the strengthening of health authorities

Couverture Asie du Sud-Est 2021Christine CABASSET & Rui Graça FEIJÓ

The virtual ousting by its rivals of Xanana Gusmão (CNRT), one of the pillars of East Timorese political landscape since independence, illustrates an undeniable political change (although not yet definitive). The move led to an important government, parliament and other State institutions reshuffle in favour of the Fretilin party. Marked by the weaknesses of its health system, the country has nonetheless distinguished itself for its good management of the Covid-19 pandemic (zero death). However, the crisis has severely affected the social and economic spheres. Several organisations and partner countries supported East-Timor in dealing with the pandemic, sometimes leading to a struggle for influence, particularly between China on the one hand, and the United States and Australia on the other. With the latter, the “Collaery and Witness K” case resurfaced, linked to Australia's 2004 spying on bilateral oil negotiations leading to the CMATS oil treaty, signed in 2006.

Keywords: East-Timor; CNRT; Fretilin; Covid-19; China; Australia.