28 May 2018

2018 Election: Fretilin falls, again; Xanana resurrects

ETLJB 28 May 2018 - The results of the East Timor 2018 National Election show the shifting power relationships between the political parties, the people and the Parliament.

Following the disastrous Fretilin minority government that assumed power after the 2017 election, the 2018 election resulted in the 65 seats in the Legislature being now comprised as follows:

AMP: Members of Parliament: 34 
Total Votes: 309,663
49.6 % of Vote







Fretilin: Members of Parliament: 23  
Total Votes: 213,324
34.2 % of Vote  







Democratic Party: Members of Parliament 5  
Total Votes: 50,370
8.1% of Vote








FDD: Members of Parliament 3 
Total Votes: 34,301
5.5% of Vote






Some Further Particulars of Note



Some further notable statistics show that:

Voter turnout was 81%, 5% higher than the previous year.

AMP achieved a swing of 3.1 per cent on their collective 2017 results.

Fretilin received 34.2 per cent of the national vote, and twenty-three seats, maintaining its 2017 seat tally. This represented a substantial swing of 4.5 per cent.

84 per cent voted for the two major blocs and over 97 per cent of the vote going to four parties.

Observations

This is the second Fretilin government to collapse amidst political chaos; all caused, in the author's opinion, by the calamitous provisions of Article 106 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor that provide for an Executive to be composed of members of a party that does not control a majority of seats in the Parliament. I have written previously on this matter.[1]

Lost in Translation

There remains confusion about the exact text and meaning of Article 106 in many authoritative sources of the English translations which ought to be clarified at once by repetition of the best available translation of that Article. I have recently been taken to task for not understanding this Article but the commentator was using an incorrect translation.[2]

The original Portuguese text of Article 106 is:

"O Primeiro-Ministro é indigitado pelo partido mais votado ou pela aliança de partidos com maioria parlamentar e nomeado pelo Presidente da República, ouvidos os partidos políticos representados no Parlamento Nacional."

Google Translate translates this accurately as:

The Prime Minister is nominated by the most voted party or alliance of parties with parliamentary majority and appointed by the President of the Republic, after hearing the political parties represented in the National Parliament.

But many sources do not cite the correct English translation of the original Portuguese text including the English versions on the Government of East Timor's own web site as well as the East Timor Ministry of Justice. Constitute Project and Constitution.org use the same erroneous translation. Instead of the correct translation, this is the mistranslation of Article 106 that those sources use:

Section 106 (Appointment)

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. 

The Error

This latter translation omits critical words of the original Portuguese text and mistranslates the Article completely.

Those critical words "the most voted party or alliance of parties with parliamentary majority". The relevant original Portuguese words in Article 106 are:

"partido mais votado ou pela aliança de partidos com maioria parlamentar"

It therefore becomes clear that there is a crucial misleading error in the commonly-referred to English translations of East Timor's Constitution.

Correction

The correct English translation of Article 106 of the Constitution of East Timor is:

The Prime Minister is nominated by the most voted party or alliance of parties with parliamentary majority and appointed by the President of the Republic, after hearing the political parties represented in the National Parliament.

Let it be known!

[1] "The Most Voted Party" - Reductio Ad Absurdum

[2] East Timor 2018 Elections: Fretilin Falls, Xanana Rises

See also

East Timor 2018 Parliamentary Election Results

2018 Election: Fretilin falls, again; Xanana resurrects

Warren L. Wright





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