The process of gradual political decentralisation in Timor-Leste.

  • Alves, Egas (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

Project: HDR ProjectMasters by Research

Project Details


This paper examines the process of gradual political decentralisation in Timor-Leste and the impact that decentralisation will have on local-level governance and democratisation. It argues that since 2003, the First Timor-Leste’s Constitutional Government (Fretilin government) has put into motion the process for decentralisation reform; however, the final model which is intended to make democracy work at all level of government has not yet been finalised. By decentralising the administrative system, the government aims to expand democratic space to the grassroots level and devolve public administrative functions to the municipal level. However, the implementation process has been slow among other contending urgencies in the state-building process.
Typically, the conventional approaches to political decentralisation in many countries comprised of deconcentration, delegation, and devolution. Since the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) government held power in 2007, they decided to take the approach through pre-deconcentration, followed by deconcentration as the best way to prepare and establish the functional representative's bodies of local governance. However, the role of traditional institutions in a decentralised governance structure is not always made explicit.
The thesis argues that the role of such institutions is crucial in the process of local government reform. A model of a decentralised administrative system is practicable in Timor-Leste, only when the traditional institutions have the space to involve in the governance of the country.
Using a combination of exploratory and descriptive case study approach, this study gathered data from both primary and secondary sources in order to answer the research question: why decentralisation reform in Timor-Leste has not been fully implemented?
Effective start/end date31/03/14 → …


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