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Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste Welcome to the The Government of Timor-Leste
PART III OF THE CONSTITUTION OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE

PART III

ORGANIZATION OF POLITICAL POWER

TITLE I

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Section 62

(Source and exercise of political power)

Political power lies with the people and is exercised in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.

Section 63

(Participation by citizens in political life)

1. Direct and active participation by men and women in political life is a requirement of, and a fundamental instrument for consolidating, the democratic system.

2. The law shall promote equality in the exercise of civil and political rights and non-discrimination on the basis of gender for access to political positions.

Section 64

(Principle of Renewal)

No one shall hold any political office for life, or for indefinite periods of time.

Section 65

(Elections)

1. Elected organs of sovereignty and of local government shall be chosen by free, direct, secret, personal and regular universal suffrage.

2. Registration of voters shall be compulsory and officially initiated, single and universal, to be up-dated for each election.

3. Electoral campaigns shall be governed in accordance with the following principles:

a) Freedom to canvass;

b) Equality of opportunity and treatment for all candidacies;

c) Impartiality towards candidacies on the part of public bodies;

d) Transparency and supervision of electoral expenses.

4. Conversion of the votes into mandates shall observe the principle of proportional representation;

5. The electoral process shall be regulated by law.

6. Supervision of voters' registration and electoral acts shall be incumbent upon an independent organ, the competences , composition , organization and functioning of which shall be established by law.

Article 66

(Referendum)

1. Voters who are registered in the national territory may be called upon to express their opinions in a referendum on issues of relevant national interest.

2. A referendum shall be called by the President of the Republic, following a proposal by one third, and deliberation approved by a two thirds majority, of the Members of the National Parliament, or following a well-founded proposal by the Government.

3. Matters falling under the exclusive competence of the Parliament, the Government and the Courts as defined by the Constitution shall not be the subject of a referendum.

4. A referendum shall only be binding where the number of voters is higher than half of the registered electors .

5. The process of a referendum shall be defined by law.

Section 67

(Organs of Sovereignty)

The organs of sovereignty shall comprise the President of the Republic, the National Parliament, the Government and the Courts.

Section 68

(Incompatibilities)

1. The holding of the offices of President of the Republic, Speaker of the National Parliament, President of the Supreme Court of Justice, President of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court, Prosecutor-General and member of Government shall be incompatible with one another.

2. The law shall define other incompatibilities.

Section 69

(Principle of separation of powers)

Organs of sovereignty, in their reciprocal relationship and exercise of their functions, shall observe the principle of separation and interdependence of powers established in the Constitution.

Section 70

(Political parties and the right of opposition)

1. Political parties shall participate in organs of political power in accordance with their democratic representation based on direct and universal suffrage.

2. The right of political parties to democratic opposition, as well as the right to be informed regularly and directly on the progress of the main issues of public interest, shall be recognised.

Section 71

(Administrative organisation)

1. The central government should be represented at the different administrative levels of the country.

2. Oecussi Ambeno shall be governed by a special administrative policy and economic regime.

3. Ataśro shall enjoy an appropriate economic status.

4. The political and administrative organisation of the territory of the Democratic Republic of East Timor shall be defined by law.

Article 72

(Local government)

1. Local government is constituted by corporate bodies vested with representative organs, with the objective of organising the participation by citizens in solving the problems of their own community and promoting local development without prejudice to the participation by the State.

2. The organisation, competence, functioning and composition of the organs of local government shall be defined by law.

Section 73

(Publication of legislation and decisions)

1. Legislation and decisions shall be published by the organs of sovereignty in the official gazette.

2. Failure to publish any of the legislation or decisions specified in item 1 above or decisions of a general nature taken by the organs of sovereignty or local government shall render them null and void.

3. The form of publication of other legislation and decisions, and the consequences of the failure to do so, shall be determined by law.

TITLE II

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

CHAPTER I

STATUS, ELECTION AND APPOINTMENT

Section 74

(Definition)

1. The President of the Republic is the Head of State and the symbol and guarantor of national independence and unity of the State and of the smooth functioning of democratic institutions.

2. The President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Force.

Section 75

(Eligibility)

1. To stand as presidential candidates, East Timorese citizens should meet cumulatively the following requirements:

a) original citizenship;

b) at least 35 (Thirty -five) years of age;

c) to be in possession of his or her full faculties;

d) to be proposed by a minimum of five thousand voters.

2. The President of the Republic has a term of office of 5 years and shall cease his or her functions with the swearing-in of the new President-elect.

3. The President of the Republic's term of office may be renewed only once.

Section 76

(Election)

1. The President of the Republic shall be elected by universal, free, direct, secret, and personal suffrage.

2. The election of the President of the Republic shall be conducted through the system based on the majority of validly expressed votes, excluding blank votes.

3. Where no candidate gets more than half of the votes, a second round shall take place on the 30th day following the first voting.

4. Only the two candidates obtaining the highest number of votes shall be eligible to stand in a run-off election, provided they have not withdrawn their candidacies.

Section 77

(Inauguration and swearing-in)

1. The President of the Republic shall be sworn in by the Speaker of the National Parliament and shall be inaugurated in public ceremony before the members of the National Parliament and the representatives of the other organs of sovereignty.

2. The inauguration shall take place on the last day of the term of office of the outgoing President or, in case of election due to vacancy, on the eighth day following the publication of the electoral results.

3. At the swearing-in ceremony, the President of the Republic shall take the following oath:

"I swear to God, to the people and on my honour that I will fulfil with loyalty the functions that have been invested in me, will abide by and enforce the Constitution and the laws and will dedicate all my energies to the defence and consolidation of independence and national unity."

Section 78

(Incompatibilities)

The President of the Republic shall not hold any other political position or public office at the national level, and under no circumstances shall he or she undertake private assignments.

Section 79

(Criminal liability and Constitutional Obligations)

1. The President of the Republic shall enjoy immunity in the exercise of his or her functions.

2. The President of the Republic shall be answerable before the Supreme Court of Justice for crimes committed in the exercise of his or her functions and for clear and serious violation of his or her constitutional obligations.

3. It is the incumbent upon the National Parliament to initiate the criminal proceedings, following a proposal made by one-fifth, and deliberation approved by a two-third majority, of its Members.

4. The Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice shall issue a judgment within a maximum of 30 days.

5. Conviction shall result in forfeiture of office and disqualification from re-election.

6. For crimes not committed in the exercise of his or her functions, the President of the Republic shall also be answerable before the Supreme Court of Justice, and forfeiture of office shall only occur in case of sentence to prison.

7. In the cases provided for under the previous item, immunity shall be withdrawn at the initiative of the National Parliament in accordance with provisions of item 3 of this Section.

Section 80

(Absence)

1. The President of the Republic shall not be absent from the national territory without the previous consent of the National Parliament or of its Standing Committee, if Parliament is in recession.

2. Failure to observe provision of item 1 above shall imply forfeiture of the office, as provided for by the previous Section.

3. The President of the Republic's private visits not exceeding fifteen days shall not require the consent of the National Parliament. Nonetheless, the President of the Republic should notify the National Parliament of such visits in advance.

Section 81

(Resignation of Office)

1. The President of the Republic may resign from office by message addressed to the National Parliament.

2. Resignation shall take effect once the message is made known to the National Parliament without prejudice to its subsequent publication in the official gazette.

3. Where the President of the Republic resigns from office, he or she shall not be eligible to stand for presidential elections immediately after resignation nor in the regular elections to be held after five years.

Section 82

(Death, resignation or permanent disability)

1. In case of death, resignation or permanent disability of the President of the Republic, his or her functions shall be taken over on an interim basis by the Speaker of the National Parliament, who shall be sworn in by the Speaker a.i. of the National Parliament before the Members of the National Parliament and representatives of the organs of sovereignty.

2. Permanent disability shall be declared by the Supreme Court of Justice, which shall also have the responsibility to confirm the death of the President of the Republic and the vacancy of office resulting therefrom.

3. The election of a new President of the Republic in case of death, resignation or permanent disability should take place within the subsequent ninety days, after certification or declaration of death, resignation or permanent disability.

4. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a new term of office.

5. In case of refusal by the President-elected to take office or in case of his or her death or permanent disability, the provisions of this Section shall apply.

Section 83

(Exceptional Cases)

1. Where death, resignation or permanent disability occur in the imminence of exceptional situations of war or protracted emergency, or of an insurmountable difficulty of a technical or material nature, to be defined by law, preventing the holding of a presidential election by universal suffrage as provided for by Section 76, the new President of the Republic shall be elected by the National Parliament from among its members within the ninety subsequent days.

2. In the cases referred to in the previous item, the President-elect shall serve for the remainder of the interrupted term and he or she may run for the new election.

Section 84

(Replacement and interim office)

1. During temporary impediment of the President of the Republic, the presidential functions shall be taken over by the Speaker of National Parliament or, in case of impediment of the latter, by his or her replacement.

2. The parliamentary mandate of the Speaker of the National Parliament or of his or her replacement shall be automatically suspended over the period of time in which he or she holds the office of President of the Republic on an interim basis.

3. The parliamentary functions of the replacing or interim President of the Republic shall be temporarily taken over in accordance with the Rules of Procedures of the National Parliament.

CHAPTER II

COMPETENCIES

Section 85

(Competencies)

It is exclusively incumbent upon the President of the Republic:

a) To promulgate statutes and order the publication of resolutions by the National Parliament approving agreements and ratifying international treaties and conventions;

b) Exercise competencies inherent in the functions of Supreme Commander of the Defence Force;

c) To exercise the right of veto regarding any statutes within 30 days from the date of their receipt;

d) To appoint and swear in the Prime Minister designated by the party or alliance of parties with parliamentary majority after consultation with political parties sitting in the National Parliament;

e) To request the Supreme Court of Justice to undertake preventive appraisal and abstract review of the constitutionality of the rules, as well as verification of unconstitutionality by omission.

f) To submit relevant issues of national interest to a referendum as laid down in Section 66;

g) To declare the state of siege or the state of emergency following authorisation of the National Parliament, after consultation with the Council of State, the Government and the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;

h) To declare war and make peace following a Government proposal, after consultation with the Council of State and the Supreme Council of Defence and Security, under authorisation of the National Parliament;

i) To grant pardons and commute sentences after consultation with the Government;

j) To award honorary titles, decorations and merits in accordance with the law.

Section 86

(Competencies with regard to other organs)

It is incumbent upon the President of the Republic, with regard to other organs:

a) To chair the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;

b) To chair the Council of State;

c) To set dates for presidential and legislative elections in accordance with the Law;

d) To request the convening of extraordinary sessions of the National Parliament, whenever imperative reasons of national interest so justify;

e) To address messages to the National Parliament and the country;

f) To dissolve the National Parliament in case of a serious institutional crisis preventing the formation of a government or the approval of the State Budget and lasting more than sixty days, after consultation with political parties sitting in the Parliament and with the Council of State, on pain of rendering the dissolution null and void, taking into consideration provisions of Section 100;

g) To dismiss the Government and remove the Prime Minister from office after the National Parliament has rejected his or her programme for two consecutive times.

h) To appoint, swear in and remove Government Members from office, following a proposal by the Prime-Minister, in accordance with item 2, Section 106;

i) To appoint two members for the Supreme Council of Defence and Security;

j) To appoint the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and swear in the President of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court;

k) To appoint the Prosecutor-General for a term of four years;

l) To appoint and dismiss the Deputy Prosecutor-General s in accordance with item 6, Section 133;

m) To appoint and dismiss, following proposal by the Government, the General Chief of Staff of the Defence Force, the Deputy General Chief of Staff of the Defence Force, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Defence Force, after consultation with the General Chief of Staff regarding the latter two cases;

n) To appoint five Members for the Council of State;

o) To appoint one member for the Superior Council for the Judiciary and for the Superior Council for the Public Prosecution.

Section 87

(Competencies with regard to International Relations)

It is incumbent upon the President of the Republic, in the field of international relations:

a) To declare war in case of effective or imminent aggression and make peace, following proposal by the Government, after consultation with the Supreme Council for Defence and Security and following authorisation of the National Parliament or of its Standing Committee.

b) To appoint and dismiss ambassadors, permanent representatives and special envoys, following proposal by the Government;

c) To receive credential letters and accredit foreign diplomatic representatives;

d) Conduct, in consultation with the Government, any negotiation process towards the completion of international agreements in the field of defence and security.

Section 88

(Promulgation and veto)

1. Within thirty days after receiving any statute from the National Parliament for the purpose of its promulgation as law, the President of the Republic shall either promulgate the statute or exercise the right of veto, in which case he or she, based on substantive grounds, shall send a message to the National Parliament requesting a new appraisal of the statute.

2. If, within ninety days, the National Parliament confirms its vote by an absolute majority of its Members in full exercise of their functions, the President of the Republic shall promulgate the statute within eight days after receiving it.

3. However, a majority of two-thirds of the Members present shall be required to ratify statutes on matters provided for in Section 95 where that majority exceeds an absolute majority of the Members in full exercise of their functions.

4. Within forty days after receiving any statute from the Government for the purpose of its promulgation as law, the President of the Republic shall either promulgate the instrument or exercise the right of veto by way of a written communication to the Government containing the reasons for the veto.

Section 89

Powers of an interim President of the Republic

An interim President of the Republic does not have any of the powers specified in following items f), g), h), i), j), k), l), m), n) and o) of Section 86.

CHAPTER III

COUNCIL OF STATE

Section 90

(Council of State)

1. The Council of State is the political advisory body of the President of the Republic and shall be headed by him or herself.

2. The Council of State shall comprise:

a) Former Presidents of the Republic who were not removed from office;

b) The Speaker of the National Parliament;

c) The Prime Minister;

d) Five citizens elected by the National Parliament in accordance with the principle of proportional representation and for the period corresponding to the legislative term, provided that they are not members of the organs of sovereignty.

e) Five citizens designated by the President of the Republic for the period corresponding to the term of office of the President, provided that they are not members of the organs of sovereignty.

Section 91

(Competence, organisation and functioning of the Council of State)

1. It is incumbent upon the Council of State:

a) Express its opinion on the dissolution of the National Parliament;

b) Express its opinion on the dismissal of the Government;

c) Express its opinion on the declaration of war and the making of peace;

d) Express its opinion on any other cases set out in the Constitution and advise the President of the Republic in the exercise of his or her functions, as requested by the President;

e) To draft its Rules of Procedures;

2. The meetings of the Council of State shall not be open to the public.

3. The organisation and functioning of the Council of State shall be established by law.

TITLE III

NATIONAL PARLIAMENT

CHAPTER I

STATUS AND ELECTION

Section 92

(Definition)

The National Parliament is the organ of sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of East Timor that represents all Timorese citizens and is vested with legislative supervisory and political decision making powers.

Section 93

(Election and composition)

1. The National Parliament shall be elected by universal, free, direct, equal, secret and personal suffrage.

2. The National Parliament shall be made up of a minimum of fifty-two and a maximum of sixty-five Members.

3. The law shall establish the rules relating to constituencies, eligibility conditions, nominations and electoral procedures.

4. Members of the National Parliament shall have a term of office of five years.

Section 94

(Immunities)

1. The Members of National Parliament shall not be held liable for civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings in regard to votes and opinions expressed by them while performing their functions.

2. Parliamentary immunities may be withdrawn in accordance with the Rules of Procedures of the National Parliament.

CHAPTER II

COMPETENCE

Section 95

(Competence of the National Parliament)

1. It is incumbent upon the National Parliament to make laws on basic issues of the country's domestic and foreign policy.

2. It is exclusively incumbent upon the National Parliament to make laws on:

a) The borders of the Democratic Republic of East Timor, in accordance with Section 4;

b) The limits of the territorial waters, of the exclusive economic area and of the rights of East Timor to the adjacent area and the continental shelf;

c) National symbols, in accordance with item 2 of Section 14;

d) Citizenship;

e) Rights, freedoms and guarantees;

f) The status and capacity of people, family law and descent law;

g) Territorial division;

h) The electoral law and the referendum system;

i) Political parties and associations;

j) The status of Members of the National Parliament;

k) The status of office holders in the organs of State;

l) The bases for the education system;

m) The bases for the health and social security system;

n) The suspension of constitutional guarantees and the declaration of the state of siege and the state of emergency;

o) The Defence and Security policy;

p) The tax policy;

q) The budget system.

3. It is also incumbent up on the National Parliament:

a) To ratify the appointment of the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court;

b) To deliberate on progress reports submitted by the Government;

c) To elect one member for the Superior Council for the Judiciary and the Superior Council for the Public Persecution;

d) To deliberate on the State Plan and Budget and the execution report thereof;

e) To monitor the execution of the State budget;

f) To approve and denounce agreements and ratify international treaties and conventions;

g) To grant amnesty;

h) To give consent to trips by the President of the Republic on State visits;

i) To approve revisions of the Constitution by a majority of two-thirds of the Members of Parliament;

j) To authorise and confirm the declaration of the state of siege or the state of emergency;

k) To propose to the President of the Republic the submission to referendum of issues of national interest.

4. It is also incumbent upon the National Parliament:

a) To elect its Speaker and other members of the Chair;

b) To elect five members for the Council of State;

c) To prepare and approve its Rules of Procedure;

d) To set up the Standing Committee and establish the other parliamentary Committees.

Section 96

(Legislative authorisation)

1. The National Parliament may authorise the Government to make laws on the following matters:

a) Definition of crimes, sentences, security measures and respective prerequisites;

b) Definition of civil and criminal procedure;

c) Organisation of the Judiciary and status of magistrates;

d) General rules and regulations for the public service, the status of the civil servants and the responsibility of the State;

e) General bases for the organisation of public administration;

f) Monetary system;

g) Banking and financial system;

h) Definition of the bases for a policy on environment protection and sustainable development;

i) General rules and regulations for radio and television broadcasting and other mass media;

j) Civic or military service;

k) General rules and regulations for requisition and expropriation for public purposes;

l) Means and ways of intervention, expropriation, nationalisation and privatisation of means of production and soils on grounds of public interest, as well as criteria for the establishment of compensations in such cases.

2. Laws on legislative authorisation shall define the subject, sense, scope and duration of the authorisation, which may be renewed.

3. Laws on legislative authorisation shall not be used more than once and shall lapse with the dismissal of the Government, with the end of the legislative term or with the dissolution of the National Parliament.

Section 97

(Legislative initiative )

1. The power to initiate laws lies with:

2. The Members of Parliament;

3. The parliamentary groups;

4. The Government.

5. There shall be no submission of bills, draft legislation or amendments involving, in any given fiscal year, any increase in State expenditure or any reduction in State revenues provided for in the Budget or Rectifying Budgets.

6. Bills and draft legislation that have been rejected shall not be re-introduced in the same legislative session in which they have been tabled.

7. Bills and draft legislation that have not been voted on shall not need to be re-introduced in the ensuing legislative session, except in case of end of the legislative term.

8. Draft legislation shall lapse with the dismissal of the Government.

Section 98

(Parliamentary appraisal of statutes)

1. Statutes other than those approved under the exclusive legislative powers of the Government may be submitted to the National Parliament for appraisal, for purposes of terminating their validity or for amendment, following a petition of one-fifth of the Members of Parliament and within thirty days following their publication. This timeframe shall exclude the days when the functioning of the National Parliament is suspended.

2. The National Parliament may suspend, in part or in full, the force of a statute until it is appraised.

3. The suspension shall lapse after the National Parliament has held 10 plenary meetings without taking a final decision.

4. Where termination of validity is approved, the statute shall cease to be in force from the date of the publication of the resolution in the Official Gazette, and it shall not be published again in the same legislative session.

5. The process shall lapse if, after a statute has been submitted for appraisal, the National Parliament takes no decision on it, or, having decided to make amendments, it does not approve a law to that effect before the corresponding legislative session ends, provided fifteen plenary meetings have been held.

CHAPTER III

ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONING

Section 99

(Legislative term)

1. The legislative term shall comprise five legislative sessions, and each legislative session shall have the duration of one year.

2. The regular period of functioning of the National Parliament shall be defined by the Rules of Procedure.

3. The National Parliament convenes on a regular basis following notice by its Speaker.

4. The National Parliament convenes on an extraordinary basis whenever so deliberated by the Standing Committee, at the request of one third of Members or following notice of the President of the Republic with a view to addressing specific issues.

5. In case of dissolution, the elected National Parliament shall commence a new legislative term, the length of which shall be increased by the time needed to complete the legislative session in progress at the date of the election.

Section 100

(Dissolution)

1. The National Parliament shall not be dissolved during the 6 months immediately following its election, during the last half-year of the term of office of the President of the Republic or during a state of siege or a state of emergency, on pain of rendering the act of dissolution null and void.

2. The dissolution of the National Parliament does not affect the continuance in office of its Members until the first meeting of the National Parliament after the ensuing election.

Section 101

(Attendance by Members of the Government)

1. Members of the Government have the right to attend plenary sessions of the National Parliament and may take the floor as provided for in the rules of procedures.

2. Sittings shall be fixed at which members of the Government shall be present to answer questions from Members of Parliament in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.

3. The National Parliament or its Committees may request members of the Governments to take part in their proceedings.

CHAPTER IV

STANDING COMMITTEE

Section 102

(Standing Committee)

1. The Standing Committee shall sit when the National Parliament is dissolved or in recession and in the other cases provided for in the Constitution;

2. The Standing Committee shall be presided over by the Speaker of the National Parliament and shall be comprised of Deputy Speakers and Parliament Members designated by the parties sitting in the Parliament in accordance with their respective representation.

3. It is incumbent upon the Standing Committee:

a) To follow-up the activities of the Government and the Public Administration;

b) To co-ordinate the activities of the Committees of the National Parliament;

c) To take steps for the convening of Parliament whenever deemed necessary;

d) To prepare and organise sessions of the National Parliament;

e) To give its consent regarding trips by the President of the Republic in accordance with Section 80;

f) To lead relations between the National Parliament and similar parliaments and institutions of other countries;

g) To authorise the declaration of the state of siege or the state of emergency.

TITLE IV

GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER I

DEFINITION AND STRUCTURE

Section 103

(Definition)

The Government is the organ of sovereignty responsible for conducting and executing the general policy of the country and is the supreme organ of Public Administration.

Section 104

(Composition)

1. The Government shall comprise the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Secretaries of State.

2. The Government may include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

3. The number, titles and competencies of ministries and secretariats of State shall be laid down in a Government statute.

Section 105

(Council of Ministers)

1. The Council of Ministers shall comprise the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, if any, and the Ministers.

2. The Council of Ministers shall be convened and chaired by the Prime Minister.

3. The Deputy Ministers, if any, and the Secretaries of State may be required to attend meetings of the Council of Ministers, without a right to vote.

CHAPTER II

FORMATION AND RESPONSIBILITY

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.

2. The remaining members of the Government shall be appointed by the President of the Republic following proposal by the Prime Minister.

Section 107

(Responsibility of the Government)

The Government shall be accountable to the President of the Republic and to the National Parliament for conducting and executing the domestic and foreign policy in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

Section 108

(The Programme of the Government)

1. Once appointed, the Government should develop its programme, which should include the objectives and tasks proposed, the actions to be taken and the main political guidelines to be followed in the fields of government activity.

2. Once approved by the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister shall, within a maximum of thirty days after appointment of the Government, submit the Programme of Government to the National Parliament for consideration.

Section 109

(Consideration of the Programme of Government)

1. The Programme of the Government shall be submitted to the National Parliament for consideration. Where the National Parliament is not in session, its convening for this purpose shall be mandatory.

2. Debate on the programme of the Government shall not exceed five days and, prior to its closing, any parliamentary group may propose its rejection or the Government may request the approval of a vote of confidence.

3. Rejection of the programme of the Government shall require an absolute majority of the Members in full exercise of their functions.

Section 110

(Request for vote of confidence)

The Government may request the National Parliament to take a vote of confidence on a statement of general policy or on any relevant matter of national interest.

Section 111

(Vote of no confidence)

1. The National Parliament may, following proposal by one-quarter of the Members in full exercise of their functions, pass a vote of no confidence on the Government with respect to the implementation of its programme or any relevant matter of national interest.

2. Where a vote of no confidence is not passed, its signatories shall not move another vote of no confidence during the same legislative session.

Section 112

(Dismissal of the Government)

1. The dismissal of the Government shall occur when:

a) A new legislative term begins;

b) The President of the Republic accepts the resignation of the Prime Minister;

c) The Prime Minister dies or is suffering from a permanent physical disability;

d) Its programme is rejected for the second consecutive time;

e) A vote of confidence is not passed;

f) A vote of no confidence is passed by an absolute majority of the Members in full exercise of their functions;

2. The President of the Republic shall only dismiss the Prime Minister in accordance with the cases provided for in the previous item and when it is deemed necessary to ensure the regular functioning of the democratic institutions, after consultation with the Council of State.

Section 113

(Criminal liability of the members of Government)

1. Where a member of the Government is charged with a criminal offence punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for more than two years, he or she shall be suspended from his or her functions so that the proceedings can be pursued.

2. Where a member of the Government is charged with a criminal offence punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for a maximum of two years, the National Parliament shall decide whether or not that member of the Government shall be suspended so that the proceedings can be pursued.

Section 114

(Immunities for members of the Government)

No member of the Government may be detained or imprisoned without the permission of the National Parliament, except for a felonious crime punishable with a maximum sentence of imprisonment for more than two years and in flagrante delicto.

CHAPTER III

COMPETENCIES

Section 115

(Competence of the Government)

1. It is incumbent upon the Government:

a) To define and implement the general policy of the country, following its approval by the National Parliament;

b) To guarantee the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens;

c) To ensure public order and social discipline;

d) To prepare the State Plan and the State Budget and execute them following their approval by the National Parliament;

e) To regulate economic and social sector activities;

f) To prepare and negotiate treaties and agreements and enter into, approve, accede and denounce international agreements which do not fall under the competence of the National Parliament or of the President of the Republic;

g) To define and implement the foreign policy of the country;

h) To ensure the representation of the Democratic Republic of East Timor in the international relations;

i) To lead the social and economic sectors of the State;

j) To lead the labour and social security policy;

k) To guarantee the defence and consolidation of the public domain and the property of the State;

l) To lead and co-ordinate the activities of the ministries as well as the activities of the remaining institutions answerable to the Council of Ministers;

m) To promote the development of the co-operative sector and the support for household production;

n) To support private enterprise initiatives;

o) To take actions and make all the arrangements necessary to promote economic and social development and to meet the needs of the Timorese people;

p) To exercise any other competencies as provided by the Constitution and the law.

2. It is also incumbent upon the Government in relation with other organs :

a) To submit bills and draft resolutions to the National Parliament;

b) To propose to the President of the Republic the declaration of war or the making of peace;

c) To propose to the President of the Republic the declaration of the state of siege or the state of emergency;

d) To propose to the President of the Republic the submission to referendum of relevant issues of national interest;

e) To propose to the President of the Republic the appointment of ambassadors, permanent representatives and special envoys;

3. The Government has exclusive legislative powers on matters concerning its own organisation and functioning, as well as on the direct and indirect management of the State.

Section 116

(Competencies of the Council of Ministers)

It is incumbent upon the Council of Ministers:

a) To define the general guidelines of the government policy as well as those for its implementation;

b) To deliberate on a request for a vote of confidence from the National Parliament;

c) To approve bills and draft resolutions;

d) To approve statutes, as well as international agreements that are not required to be submitted to the National Parliament;

e) To approve actions by the Government that involve an increase or decrease in public revenues or expenditures;

f) To approve plans.

Section 117

(Competencies of members of the Government)

1. 1.It is incumbent upon the Prime Minister:

a) To be the Head of Government;

b) To chair the Council of Ministers;

c) To lead and guide the general policy of the Government and co-ordinate the activities of all Ministers, without prejudice to the direct responsibility of each Minister for his or her respective governmental department.

d) To keep the President of the Republic informed on matters of domestic and foreign policy of the Government;

e) To perform other duties conferred by the Constitution and the law.

2. It is incumbent upon the Ministers:

a) To implement the policy defined for their respective Ministries;

b) To ensure relations between the Government and the other organs of the State in the area of responsibility of their respective Ministries.

3. Government statutes shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Ministers in charge of the respective subject matter.

TITLE V

COURTS

CHAPTER I

COURTS AND THE JUDICIARY

Section 118

(Jurisdiction)

1. Courts are organs of sovereignty with competencies to administer justice in the name of the people.

2. In performing their functions, the courts shall be entitled to the assistance of other authorities.

3. Court decisions shall be binding and shall prevail over the decisions of any other authority.

Section 119

(Independence)

Courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law.

Section 120

Review of unconstitutionality

The courts shall not apply rules that contravene the Constitution or the principles contained therein.

Section 121

(Judges)

1. Jurisdiction lies exclusively with the judges installed in accordance with the law.

2. In performing their functions, judges are independent and owe obedience only to the Constitution, the law and to their own conscience.

3. Judges have security of tenure and, unless otherwise provided for by law, may not be transferred, suspended, retired or removed from office.

4. To guarantee their independence, judges may not be held liable for their judgments and decisions, except in the circumstances provided for by law.

5. The law shall regulate the judicial organisation and the status of the judges of the courts of law.

Section 122

(Exclusiveness)

Judges in office may not perform any other functions, whether public or private, other than teaching or legal research, in accordance with the law.

Section 123

Categories of courts

1. There shall be the following categories of courts in the Democratic Republic of East Timor:

a) The Supreme Court of Justice and other courts of law;

b) The High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court and other administrative courts of first instance;

c) Military Courts.

2. Courts of exception shall be prohibited and there shall be no special courts to judge certain categories of criminal offence.

3. There may be Maritime Courts and Arbitration Courts.

4. The law shall determine the establishment, organisation and functioning of the courts provided for in the preceding items.

5. The law may institutionalise means and ways for the non-jurisdictional resolution of disputes.

Section 124

(Supreme Court of Justice)

1. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of law and the guarantor of a uniform enforcement of the law, and has jurisdiction throughout the national territory.

2. It is also incumbent on the Supreme Court of Justice to administer justice on matters of legal, constitutional and electoral nature.

3. The President of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be appointed by the President of the Republic from among judges of the Supreme Court of Justice for a term of office of four years.

Section 125

(Functioning and Composition)

1. The Supreme Court of Justice shall operate:

a) In sections, like a court of first instance, in the cases provided for in the law;

b) In plenary, like a court of second and single instance, in the cases expressly provided for in the law;

2. The Supreme Court of Justice shall consist of career judges, magistrates of the Public Prosecution or jurists of recognised merit in number to be established by law, as follows:

a) One elected by the National Parliament;

b) And all the others designated by the Superior Council for the Judiciary.

Section 126

(Electoral and Constitutional Competence)

1. It is incumbent upon the Supreme Court of Justice, on legal and constitutional matters:

a) To review and declare the unconstitutionality and illegality of normative and legislative acts by the organs of the State;

b) To provide an anticipatory verification of the legality and constitutionality of the statutes and referenda;

c) To verify cases of unconstitutionality by omission;

d) To rule, as a venue of appeal, on the suppression of norms considered unconstitutional by the courts of instance;

e) To verify the legality regarding the establishment of political parties and their coalitions and order their registration or dissolution, in accordance with the Constitution and the law;

f) To exercise all other competencies provided for by the Constitution or the law.

2. It is incumbent upon the Supreme Court of Justice, in the specific field of elections:

a) To verify the legal requirements for candidates for the office of President of the Republic;

b) To certify at last instance the regularity and validity of the acts of the electoral process, in accordance with the respective law;

c) To validate and proclaim the results of the electoral process.

Section 127

(Eligibility)

1. Only career judges or magistrates of the Public Prosecution or jurists of recognised merit of East Timorese nationality may become members of the Supreme Court of Justice.

2. In addition to the requirements referred to in the preceding item, the law may define other requirements.

Section 128

(Superior Council for the Judiciary )

1. The Superior Council for the Judiciary is the organ of management and discipline of the judges of the courts and it is incumbent upon it to appoint, assign, transfer and promote the judges.

2. The Superior Council for the Judiciary shall be presided over by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and shall have the following members:

a) One designated by the President of the Republic;

b) One elected by the National Parliament;

c) One designated by the Government;

d) One elected by the judges of the courts of law from among their peers;

3. The law shall regulate the competence, organisation and functioning of the Superior Council for the Judiciary.

Section 129

(High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court)

1. The High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court is the highest body in the hierarchy of the administrative, tax and audit courts, without prejudice to the competence of the Supreme Court of Justice.

2. The President of the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court is elected from among and by respective judges for a term of office of four years.

3. It is incumbent upon the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court as a single instance to monitor the lawfulness of public expenditure and to audit State accounts.

4. It is incumbent upon the High Administrative, Tax and Audit Court and the administrative and tax courts of first instance:

a) To judge actions aiming at resolving disputes arising from legal, fiscal and administrative relations;

b) To judge contentious appeals against decisions made by State organs, their respective office holders and agents;

c) To perform all the other functions as established by law.

Section 130

(Military Courts)

1. It is incumbent upon military courts to judge in first instance crimes of military nature.

2. The competence, organisation, composition and functioning of military courts shall be established by law.

Section 131

(Court Hearings)

Court hearings shall be public, unless the court hearing a matter rules otherwise through a well-founded order to safeguard personal dignity or public morality and national security, or guarantee its own smooth operation.

CHAPTER II

PUBLIC PROSECUTORS

Section 132

(Functions and Status)

1. Public Prosecutors have the responsibility for representing the State, taking criminal action, ensuring the defence of the underage, absentees and the disabled, defending the democratic legality, and promoting the enforcement of the law.

2. Public Prosecutors shall be a body of judicial officers, hierarchically graded, and shall be accountable to the Prosecutor-General .

3. In performing their duties, Public Prosecutors shall be subject to legality, objectivity and impartiality criteria, and obedience to the directives and orders as established by law.

4. Public Prosecutors shall be governed by their own statutes, and shall only be suspended, retired or dismissed under the circumstances provided for in the law.

5. It is incumbent upon the Office of the Prosecutor-General to appoint, assign, transfer and promote public prosecutors and exercise disciplinary actions.

Section 133

(Office of the Prosecutor-General )

1. The Office of the Prosecutor-General is the highest authority in public prosecution, and its composition and competencies shall be defined by law.

2. The Office of the Prosecutor-General shall be headed by the Prosecutor-General , who, in his or her absence or inability to act, shall be replaced in accordance with the law.

3. The Prosecutor-General shall be appointed by the President of the Republic for a term of office of six years, in accordance with the terms established by law.

4. The Prosecutor-General shall be accountable to the Head of State and shall submit annual reports to the National Parliament.

5. The Prosecutor-General shall request the Supreme Court of Justice to make a generally binding declaration of unconstitutionality of any law ruled unconstitutional in three concrete cases.

6. Deputy Prosecutor-General s shall be appointed, dismissed or removed from office by the President of the Republic after consultation with the Superior Council for the Public Prosecution.

Section 134

(Superior Council for the Public Prosecution)

1. The Superior Council for the Public Prosecution is an integral part of the office of the Prosecutor-General .

2. The Superior Council for the Public Prosecution shall be headed by the Prosecutor-General and shall comprise the following members:

a) One designated by the President of the Republic;

b) One elected by the National Parliament;

c) One designated by the Government;

d) One elected by the magistrates of the Public Prosecution from among their peers.

3. The law shall regulate the competence, organisation and functioning of the Superior Council for the Public Prosecution.

CHAPTER III

LAWYERS

Section 135

(Lawyers)

1. Legal and judicial aid is of social interest, and lawyers and defenders shall be governed by this principle.

2. The primary role of lawyers and defenders is to contribute to the good administration of justice and the safeguard of the rights and legitimate interests of the citizens.

3. The activity of lawyers shall be regulated by law.

Section 136

(Guarantees in the activity of lawyers)

1. The State shall, in accordance with the law, guarantee the inviolability of documents related to legal proceedings. No search, seizure, listing or other judicial measures shall be permitted without the presence of the competent magistrate and, whenever possible, of the lawyer concerned.

2. Lawyers have the right to contact their clients personally with guarantees of confidentiality, especially where the clients are under detention or arrest in military or civil prison centres.

TITLE VI

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Section 137

(Public Administration general principles)

1. Public Administration shall aim at meeting public interest, in the respect for the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and constitutional institutions.

2. The Public Administration shall be structured to prevent excessive bureaucracy, provide more accessible services to the people and ensure the contribution of individuals interested in its efficient management.

3. The law shall establish the rights and guarantees of the citizens, namely against acts likely to affect their legitimate rights and interests.