Taiwan also worthy of a referendum 990906 Taipei Times
Overall, the referendum held in East Timor on Aug. 30 deciding the territory's future (a choice between independence or autonomy within Indonesia) went smoothly. Consistent with the general expectations, the referendum proved to be a victory for the pro-independence faction. However, even if East Timor now declares independence, the pro-unification groups will continue to use all means available, including violence, to disrupt the realization of independence. And even after it overcomes all these roadblocks to independence, East Timor, hardly well-endowed with natural resources, has a long way to go in development. In any event, the free expression of the popular will through a peacefully conducted referendum is in itself highly significant and encouraging.
East Timor is a former colony of Portugal. However, Portugal was forced to withdraw from East Timor in 1974 due to political unrest at home. A power vacuum was therefore created in East Timor. The democratic republic hastily established in East Timor at the time was less than stable. Indonesia seized the opportunity and invaded East Timor in 1975, then annexed it the following year.