Timor Leste is a country in Southeast Asia, comprising the eastern half of the island of Timor, of which the western half is administered by Indonesia. As a former Portuguese colony (up to 1975) and after Indonesian occupation (1975-1999), Timor Leste adopted its constitution and was recognized as independent in 2002. The 2022 Population and Housing Census recorded a population of 1.3 million residents. Despite its small population, the constitution calls for local governments to be established as corporate bodies vested with representative organs, with the objective of organizing the participation by citizens in solving the problems of their own community and promoting local development without prejudice to the participation by the State. Despite the passage of a Municipal Administrations and Municipal Authorities Act (Decree-Law 3/2016) and the Village (Sucos) Act (2016), in practice, municipalities continue to function as part of the state administration, rather than as truly autonomous local governments.

Subnational government structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessment

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Timor Leste 2023 (Excel)

Additional resources

Timor Leste Population and Housing Census 2022

Timor Leste Women in Local Government (UN Women)

Local Governance in Timor Leste (The Asia Foundation)

Timor Leste in Numbers 2020

Timor Leste Municipality Portal: https://portal.municipio.gov.tl/en/

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Last updated: December 29, 2023