Overview Timor-Leste

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Although pandemic precautions have created economic and social hardships, they have also catalyzed the formation of a more stable governing coalition and broadened discussion of more sustainable economic policies. A shaky cohabitation between president and parliamentary majority ended in March 2020, and a new constellation of parties including the Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente (FRETILIN) formed a government coalition in April 2020.

The economy continues to depend on government outlays, with little diversification. Approximately 80% of state expenditures come from the Petroleum Fund. Malnutrition and poverty remain among the worst globally, and imports outweigh exports by a ratio of 20:1.

The maritime boundary agreement with Australia came into force in 2019, removing some obstacles to extracting more oil and gas. Timor-Leste declared a COVID-19 State of Emergency in April 2020. Notwithstanding some health-related restrictions on travel and assembly, civil liberties and freedom of speech are widely respected.

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