Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

Prime Minister, Timor-Leste

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão is the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of Timor-Leste. In 2012 he was elected for a second five year term. In 2002 Xanana Gusmão was elected as the first President of the Republic following independence. During the 24-year liberation struggle in Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão was a resistance leader. Captured and imprisoned during the guerilla war, he studied Bahasa Indonesia, English and law during captivity and also painted and wrote poetry.

In a UN-sponsored referendum on 30 August 1999, the Timorese people voted for independence, ending the struggle and beginning the UN transitional process. Xanana Gusmão was released from prison on 7 September 1999.