East Timor profile

President: Taur Matan Ruak

East Timor's president Taur Matan Ruak Taur Matan Ruak headed the guerrilla force fighting for independence

Born Jose Maria de Vasconcelos, the president is better known by his nom de guerre Taur Matan Ruak (A Pair of Keen Eyes), adopted during the Timorese guerrilla campaign against Indonesian rule.

He became chief of staff of the Falintil guerrilla force in 1992, rising to commander in chief in 2000 and then head of the armed forces after independence in 2002.

As armed forces chief General Ruak was careful to maintain good relations with both the government and opposition. He came in for criticism over the armed forces' distribution of weapons to the public during the 2006 civil unrest, and a UN Commission of Inquiry recommended his prosecution. A Timorese inquiry later cleared him of all charges.

He stepped down in September 2011 in order to stand for the largely ceremonial presidency, with the support of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. He took office in May 2012.

Prime minister: Xanana Gusmao

Xanana Gusmao Xanana Gusmao led the armed fight against Indonesian rule

President Ramos-Horta appointed former President Gusmao as prime minister in August 2007, breaking a political impasse following inconclusive parliamentary polls in June.

The appointment of Mr Gusmao, the leader of armed resistance to Indonesian rule, sparked violent protests from supporters of the former ruling Fretilin party.

Fretilin won 21 seats in the 65-member Parliament, well short of a majority. Mr Gusmao's party won 18 but formed a coalition comprising 37 seats. His party emerged as the largest at the subsequent elections in 2012, but again had to form a coalition to achieve a majority in parliament.

Mr Gusmao had set up the National Congress of East Timor's Reconstruction (CNRT) in 2007 to wrest power from Fretilin.

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