Timorese Democratic Union

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Timorese Democratic Union
União Democrática Timorense
Leader Gilman Santos
FoundedMay 11, 1974 (1974-05-11) [1]
Headquarters Dili
Ideology Conservatism
Political position Right-wing
Colours White, Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, Gold
SloganMate Bandeira Hun
Party flag

The Timorese Democratic Union (Portuguese : União Democrática Timorense, UDT) is a conservative political party in East Timor. It was the first party to be established in the country on May 11, 1974, following the Carnation Revolution in Portugal. [1]



Early history (1974–1975)

The UDT originally advocated continued links with Portugal, using the Tetum slogan Mate Bandeira Hun, meaning 'Death in the shadow of the flag', but later formed an alliance with the more left-wing Frente Revolucionaria de Timor-Leste Independente (Fretilin) to work towards independence in January 1975. This alliance lasted for only five months and broke up among accusations that Fretilin was not exercising control over its more extreme members, although by this time UDT leaders like Francisco Lopes da Cruz had held meetings with BAKIN, the then Indonesian military intelligence, which had signalled Jakarta's misgivings about an independent state under Fretilin control.

On August 11 of that year, the UDT staged a coup against the Portuguese administration, and a three-month civil war erupted. Many UDT politicians and supporters fled across the border to West Timor, where they were required to sign a petition calling for East Timor's incorporation into Indonesia, with most of the UDT loyalists declining the offer, as it would be considered a betrayal to its own ideology and trust for the country. After the signing, the UDT split into two factions, with only a small percentage of UDT giving up on hope and decided to side with Timorese Popular Democratic Association (APODETI) to call for Indonesian annexation, while the rest of the UDT decided to take a fight with the Indonesian invading forces or decided to leave Timor to seek help and make a congress with Fretilin in Australia and Portugal to work towards independence.

During Indonesian occupation (1975–1999)

One of the UDT's most senior leaders, Mário Viegas Carrascalão, sided with the Indonesian regime and served as the Governor of Indonesia's 'Timor Timur province' between 1987 and 1992. His brother, João, however, led the UDT in exile in Portugal and Australia, later joining with Fretilin in a national unity movement called the National Council of Maubere Resistance (Portuguese : Conselho Nacional da Resistência Maubere, CNRM), later called the National Council of Timorese Resistance (Portuguese : Conselho Nacional de Resistência Timorense, CNRT), due to the disagreement between UDT and Fretilin for using the word "Maubere", as this could possibly divide the Timorese people into two.

Since independence (2002–present)

Following the change of government in Indonesia in 1998, and subsequently the change of policy, the UDT was able to organise in East Timor, where it supported the independence campaign.

In the parliamentary election held on 30 August 2001, the party won 2.4% of the popular vote and 2 out of 88 seats.[ citation needed ] In the parliamentary election held on 30 June 2007, the UDT won 0.90% of the vote and did not win any seats in parliament, as it did not reach the 3% threshold to win seats.

Following the political unrest between Fretilin and AMP (Aliança Maioria Parlamentar), comprised by CNRT, PLP and KHUNTO, the President of Timor-Leste decided to make another parliamentary election to solve the problem. UDT, not giving up on hope, decided to join forces or alliance with three political parties: PUDD (Partido Unidade Desenvolvimento Democrático), Frente-Mudança (FRETILIN's separatist party) and PDN (Partido Desenvolvimento Nacional), forming a coalition called FDD (Frente Desenvolvimento Democrático) and won 34,531 votes and won 3 seats. [2]

Election results

Legislative elections

ElectionParty leaderVotes%Seats+/–PositionGovernment
2001 Gilman Santos8,5812.36%
2 / 88
NewIncrease2.svg 5thOpposition
2007 3,7530.90%
0 / 65
Decrease2.svg 2Decrease2.svg 13thExtra-parliamentary
2012 5,3321.13%
0 / 65
Steady2.svg 0Increase2.svg 11thExtra-parliamentary
2017 11,2551.98%
0 / 65
Steady2.svg 0Increase2.svg 7thExtra-parliamentary
2018 [lower-alpha 1] 34,3015.49%
1 / 65
Increase2.svg 1Increase2.svg 4thOpposition
2023 1,2560.18%
0 / 65
Decrease2.svg 1Decrease2.svg 14thExtra-parliamentary
  1. Run as part of the Democratic Development Forum coalition (PUDD, UDT, Frenti-Mudança and PDN).

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  1. 1 2 CAVR. "Chega! Final Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor – Part 3: The History of the Conflict" (PDF). para. 46. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  2. "National Provisional Results from the 30 June 2007 Parliamentary Elections" Archived 10 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine , Comissão Nacional de Eleições Timor-Leste, 9 July 2007.