Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão: husi 20-05-2002 to’o 20-05-2007

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

xanana bio pic

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, was born on 20 June 1946 in Laleia, Manatuto, East Timor, he is the second son in a family of nine children. His parents are teachers. Gusmao is educated at the Jesuit mission of Nossa Senhora di Fatima at Dare in the hills overlooking Dili. After leaving school he works in various jobs in Dili – typist, draftsman, waterside worker and fisherman – before obtaining a permanent position in the public service and continuing his studies. While working as a journalist he takes the nom de plume ‘Xanana’. The name will stick for the rest of his life.

Gusmao is recruited into the Portuguese Army in 1968. After completing his national service completed, Gusmao returns to the public service and become involved in the Timorese independence movement in 1971.

On 28 November 1975, FRETLIN proclaims the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste. Gusmao is appointed as the deputy head of Department of Information and is elected to the Fretilin Central Committee. Indonesia invades Timor-Leste on 7 December and Gusmao is the last member of Fretilin’s Central Committee to leave the capital.

In 1978 following the deaths of almost all of the Fretilin leadership, including the group’s president, Nicolau Lobato, Gusmao finds himself in charge of the resistance.

Gusmao organises the first national conference of Fretilin in March 1981. He is formally elected leader of the resistance movement and commander-in-chief of Falintil.

Gusmao leaves Fretilin to concentrate on rebuilding the opposition movement on cross-party lines. He introduces a ‘Policy of National Unity’, increases contacts with the Catholic Church and develops a clandestine network in urban areas and other occupied zones.

Gusmao is captured in Dili by the Indonesian military on 20 November, 1992 and charged with subversion. On May 21 he is sentenced to life imprisonment in Jakarta’s Cipinang jail. The sentence is later commuted to 20 years.

Gusmao is captured in Dili by the Indonesian military on 20 November, 1992 and charged with subversion. On May 21 he is sentenced to life imprisonment in Jakarta’s Cipinang jail. The sentence is later commuted to 20 years.In 1997 South African President Nelson Mandela visits Gusmao in prison. After the meeting President Mandela calls for Gusmao’s release. The East Timorese National Convention held in Portugal in April 1998, establishes the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) to replace CNRM. Gusmao is reaffirmed by acclamation as leader of the East Timorese resistance and president of CNRT.

Gusmao, who had been moved to house arrest on 10 February, is freed on 7 September. On 19 October the Indonesian Government ratifies the referendum result and revokes East Timor’s incorporation into Indonesia. The UN officially assumes control of the territory on 25 October. Meanwhile, Gusmao resigns as commander in chief of Falintil. The National Council of Timorese Resistance is dissolved in May, with Gusmao’s position as its president also coming to an end.

Timor-Leste’s first general elections are held on 30 August. Fretilin wins the elections, but without the massive majority expected. The party takes 55 seats in the 88-seat Assembly. It becomes the dominant force in a coalition Government.

Following the election, Gusmao is given a position on East Timor’s Planning Commission. On 23 February 2002 Gusmao confirms that he will run as a candidate in the presidential election to be held on 14 April. Gusmao wins in a landslide, receiving 83% of the vote and taking 12 of the country’s 13 provinces. On 17 April he is declared president of East Timor. During his five-year term he will also act as commander-in-chief of East Timor’s defence force.

At midnight on 19 May, 2002 Kofi Annan hands government to Gusmao and declares East Timor independent. Hours later Gusmao swears in the new East Timor Government.

Gusmao does not contend another term in presidential elections held on 9 April, 2007 stepping down instead to lead a new party, the National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor (CNRT), in parliamentary elections held on 30 June. He is replaced as president by José Ramos-Horta.

José Ramos-Horta appoints Gusmao as Prime Minister of a coalition government on 6 August. The new government is sworn in on 8 August.

In 2008, a band of rebel soldiers launched an assassination attempt on  Gusmoa  but he escaped unharmed.