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Fretilin

The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (or FRETILIN) was a resistance movement which fought for the independence of East Timor, first from Portugal and then from Indonesia, between 1974 and 1998. After East Timor gained its independence, FRETILIN became a legitimate political party.

FRETILIN's most prominent leader is Jose Ramos-Horta, who in December 1996 shared the Nobel Peace Prize with his fellow countryman, Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo.

Although slated to triumph in the 2001 elections, East Timor's first since independence, Fretilin barely obtained a majority, polling 57 percent of the vote, with nine other parties and one independent candidate sharing the remaining votes. Fretilin took 55 seats in the 88-seat Assembly, leaving it short of the two-thirds majority it hoped for in order to dictate the drafting of a national constitution.

The results reflected growing disparity between Fretilinís rhetoric of alleviating hardship and the unending poverty which plagues the country. In the minds of many people, Fretilin was closely associated with the UN interim government, which failed to deliver any significant improvement in living standards.

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