IRI Timor-Leste Poll Shows Majority Believe in Country’s Direction, Support for Political Inclusion, Faith in Democracy

Dili, Timor-Leste – A new nationwide poll conducted in Timor-Leste by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) shows most adults believe the country is moving in the right direction, support political inclusion, and a strong majority believe that democracy is the best possible form of government.  

When asked about the direction of the country, 61% believe it is moving in the right direction. Confidence was also expressed in national leadership. Eighty-nine percent approve of the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL), 86% approve of the National Parliament, and 96% approve of President José Ramos-Horta. 

The poll also shows that Timorese voters place a premium on political inclusion. Ninety-eight percent believe that it is very or somewhat important to include women and youth in political decision-making. Eighty-nine percent felt the same for people with disabilities.  

“Democratic advancement can only be obtained if all voices are welcomed in public debates,” said Johanna Kao, Senior Director for Asia-Pacific at IRI. “It’s encouraging to see that Timorese want to see more people engaged in the political process.” 

A strong majority also showed faith in democratic governance. Seventy-eight percent believe that democracy is the best possible form of government. Timorese rank their trust in democratic countries far higher than authoritarian China, with 69% stating they trust the United States a great deal, 68% trusting Australia a great deal, and 63% trusting South Korea a great deal. By contrast, only 36% said the same for China. 


This survey was conducted on behalf of IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research by INSIGHT LTD between February 21 and March 16, 2023. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews in respondents’ homes. The sample consists of 1,500 citizens of Timor-Leste aged 17+ and eligible to vote. Government workers, political party employees, police and enlisted military personnel were excluded. The achieved sample was weighted for age, gender, municipality, and educational attainment as per the 2015 census of Timor-Leste. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.    This survey was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Up ArrowTop