Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Timor-Leste (Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste)

Timor-Leste (Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 26 of 65 (40%) seats in the National Parliament are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Unicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Jul 3, 2022

Single/Lower House

National Parliament

Total seats 65
Total Women 26
% Women 40%
Election Year 2018
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas Constitution  
Electoral law Under Article 12 (3) of the 2006 Law on the Elections of the National Parliament (as amended in 2011), on electoral lists, 1 out of every group of 3 candidates must be a woman.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law The list will be rejected if it does not comply with the quota provisions (Article 12 (3)).
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law On electoral lists, 1 out of every group of 3 candidates must be a woman (Article 12 (3)).
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Reserved seats
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Electoral law
Both men and women, without discrimination, may participate as candidates and be elected Local (‘Suco’) Chiefs or Members of the Local (‘Suco’) Councils. The Law further stipulates that Local (‘Suco’) Councils shall be composed of the Local (‘Suco’) Chief, the Chiefs of all the villages that are included in the local districts (‘Sucos’) and, additionally, 2 women, 2 youth representatives, 1 of each sex, and 1 elder (Law No. 2/2004 on the Elections of the Local (‘Suco’) Chiefs and the Local (‘Suco’) Councils, Articles 2 (2) and 3 (1)).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A Not applicable
Rank order/placement rules N/A Not applicable

Additional Information

A debate on the introduction of quotas for women took place in Timor-Leste during the period of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) between October 1999 and April 2001 (Ballington and Dahlerup 2006: 251–52). During this period, Rede Feto Timor Leste (a network of 16 women’s organizations) proposed that a mandatory quota be stipulated in the electoral regulation, relying on the Beijing Platform of Action and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). At least 30 per cent of women candidates were to be proposed in the political party lists and placed in winnable positions, with every third candidate listed from the top being a woman. However, in 2001 the National Council rejected quotas. Article 12. 3 of the electoral law was eventually adopted in 2006, providing that one out of every four candidates on electoral lists must be a woman. This quota was revised in 2011 to provide for an improved rule that includes a woman in every three candidates on candidate lists.




  • Ballington, J. and Dahlerup, D., ‘Gender Quotas in Post-conflict States: East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq’, in D. Dahlerup (ed.), Women, Quotas and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2006)


Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Timor-Leste on iKNOW Politics
  • Ballington, J. and Dahlerup, D. 2006. ‘Gender quotas in post-conflict states: East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq’, in Dahlerup, D. Women, Quotas and Politics, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 249-258.
  • Pires, M. 2002. ‘East Timor and the Debate on Quotas.’ International IDEA, Regional Workshop on the Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences. Jakarta. Indonesia, September 2002.
  • ‘East Timor: women demand 30% quota.’ 2001. Off Our Backs 31, no. 4:5.
  • Peace Women. 2001. Security Council Resolution 1325 - One Year On.
  • UN Women Asia and the Pacific,

Additional reading

Asia | Global

Know about useful additional reading for Timor-Leste? Tell us!



Do you have news concerning gender quotas for promoting
the equal participation and representation of women and men?
Please send them to us so that we can keep the information on this site up to date.


Contact Us

Disclaimer: Maps presented do not imply on the part of the Institute any judgement on the legal status of any territory or the endorsement of such boundaries, nor does the placement or size of any country or territory reflect the political view of International IDEA. Maps are used in order to add visual clarity to data.