Constitution of East Timor

The Constitution of East Timor entered into force on 20 May 2002, and was the country's first constitution after it gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and from Indonesia, which invaded East Timor on 7 December 1975 and left in 1999 following a UN-sponsored referendum.

Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor
Portuguese: Constituição da República Democrática de Timor-Leste
Tetum: Konstituisaun Repúblika Demokrátika Timor-Leste
Constituição da República Democrática de Timor-Leste(Preâmbulo e artigo 1).jpg
Preamble and article 1.
Ratified20 May 2002
Author(s)Constituent Assembly of East Timor
SignatoriesConstituent Assembly
PurposeNational constitution


The Constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly elected for this purpose in 2001. Pursuant to an UNTAET regulation,[1] the constitution did not need support in a referendum, but entered into force on the day of independence of East Timor after it was approved by the assembly.

There are two versions of the Constitution, one in each of the country's official languages, Tetum and Portuguese.

The Constitution consists of seven parts, namely:

  • I. Fundamental principles
  • II. Fundamental rights, duties, liberties and guarantees
  • III. Organisation of political power (including the provisions about the three branches of government)
  • IV. Economic and financial organisation
  • V. National defence and security
  • VI. Guarantee and revision of the Constitution
  • VII. Final and transitional provisions


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