Author(s): Michael Leach
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The Politics of Timor-Leste explores the critical issues facing the Asia-Pacific's youngest nation as it seeks to consolidate a democracy following years of international intervention. The authors study the challenges that have burdened the state since it broke from Indonesia amid the violence of 1999 and formally achieved full independence in 2002. They assess the notable accomplishments of Timor-Leste's leaders and citizens, and consider the country's future prospects as international organizations prepare to depart. A close study of Timor-Leste sheds light on ambitious state-building projects that have been initiated, with varying success, across the globe. Contributors to this volume map the nation's recent political evolution through studies of its constitutional debates, political parties, and foreign policy responses to powerful neighbors. They address the social and economic conditions that complicate Timor-Leste's political development, such as gender discrimination, poverty, corruption, and security-sector volatility.
The contemporary history of Timor-Leste reflects the experiences of many postcolonial and developing countries that have sought to establish a viable state following conflict and a declaration of independence. This small nation has been the subject of five consecutive UN missions with varying mandates. The Politics of Timor-Leste ought to serve as a key source for comparative postcolonial studies and a guide to future trends in international state-building and assistance.
Michael Leach is an Associate Professor in Politics and Public Policy at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. He has written extensively on East Timorese politics and history, and worked as an adviser to Timor-Leste's Ministry of Education and Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports. He is a founder of the Timor-Leste Studies Association. Damien Kingsbury is a professor and Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Development, and Human Rights at Deakin University. He was coordinator of Australian NGO observer missions to Timor-Leste's ballot for independence, and its 2007 and 2012 elections, and is a regular visitor to Timor-Leste. He is author of East Timor: The Price of Liberty, and editor or co-editor of two other books on Timor-Leste's politics.