Hon. Irwansyah was officially recognized as Timor-Leste’s Honorary Consul for North Sumatra, Indonesia on 7 May 2015. Apart from being active as a businessman, he is also active in organizations such as the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as Chairman of the Timor-Leste Committee, Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Honorary Consuls in Indonesia and several other organizations. He also supports small businesses where one of them is Andaliman, a typical Batak plant that only grows in the Lake Toba area, through economic diplomacy, this andaliman plant is processed into herbal tea which is a collaboration between North Sumatra, Indonesia and Timor-Leste with the trademark The Bloom.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is situated on the island of Timor, approximately 700 km northwest of Darwin. The capital of Timor-Leste is Dili. Timor-Leste is bounded by the Timor Sea to the southeast, the Wetar Strait to the north, the Ombai Strait to the northwest, and western Timor (part of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara) to the southwest. The eastern part of Timor island is rugged, with the mountains rising to 9,721 feet (2,963 metres) at Mount Tatamailau (Tata Mailau) in the centre of a high plateau. The area has a dry tropical climate and moderate rainfall. Hilly areas are covered with sandalwood.
Timor-Leste has a population of around 1.3 million. The official languages of Timor-Leste are Tetum and Portuguese, while English and Indonesian are working languages. Approximately 95 per cent of Timorese are Catholic.
Political overview Timor-Leste achieved formal independence on 20 May 2002. Timor-Leste’s independence resulted from the August 1999 UN-sponsored referendum. The first democratic legislative elections were held on 30 August 2001 and over 91 per cent of Timor-Leste’s eligible voters elected a Constituent Assembly. In March 2002, the Constituent Assembly approved Timor-Leste’s Constitution (based on the Portuguese model).
Timor-Leste’s head of state is a directly elected President with limited executive power. The Prime Minister is the head of government and is formally appointed by the President. Usually, the Prime Minister will be the leader of the political party that can form a majority or majority coalition in the unicameral national parliament. On 20 March 2017, Timor-Leste held presidential elections, which were won by Francisco Guterres Lu’Olo. The next presidential elections are due in 2022.
Timor-Leste’s parliamentary elections were held on 12 May 2018. On 28 May 2018, the Timor-Leste Court of Appeal confirmed the Alliance for Change and Progress (AMP) had won an absolute majority with 34 seats in the 65-seat parliament. Of the opposition parties, Fretilin had won 23 seats, the Democratic Party (DP) won five, and the Democratic Development Front (FDD) won three. HE Jose Maria ‘Taur Matan Ruak’ Vasconcelos was elected Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. The membership of the governing coalition changed in 2020. The National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT – 21 seats) withdrew from AMP and a new alliance formed to support the government. The new alliance comprises the Prime Minister’s People’s Liberation Party (8 seats) and the former opposition parties Fretilin and the Noble Advancement of Timorese National Unity (known by its Tetum acronym KHUNTO – 5 seats). The Government has the support of 36 members of the parliament. New ministers were sworn in by President Lu’Olo on 29 May and 24 June 2020. Economic overview Timor-Leste aspires to become an upper middle-income country by 2030 and has set out its development agenda in their Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030.
Despite impressive progress since independence, the country’s economic challenges are considerable. COVID-19 is causing further challenges and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. Restrictions on domestic and international movement are disrupting agricultural markets, business activity and employment prospects, especially for women, in an already fragile economy. Reductions in income are constraining households’ ability to meet basic needs and access sufficient nutritious food. The COVID-19 outbreak in the first half of 2021 as well as damage from the Easter floods have further undermined Timor-Leste’s economic recovery, Timor-Leste continues to be one of the most oil-dependent countries in the world with around 85 per cent of government expenditure each year financed by transfers from Timor-Leste’s Petroleum Fund. The government is seeking to diversify the economy by promoting investment in downstream oil and gas processing, tourism and agriculture.
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