The first prime minister of the newly independent Republic of East Timor. He will actually be running the country, and President Xanana Gusmão's role will be as head of state.

Alkatiri was brought into the United Nations transitional authority as economics minister after the 1999 independence referendum. He was trained as a chartered surveyor and taught as an academic in Mozambique during the years of Indonesian occupation. He only came back to Timor then, and would prefer to return to academia at some point. His government includes the long-standing Fretilin foreign minister and Nobel Prize winner José Ramos Horta.

He showed his mettle in negotiating well with Australia over the rich oil resources of the Timor Sea between the two countries, and gained a deal in which East Timor got most of the seabed region, which will enable to support itself to some extent and get out of its present abject poverty. The riches of these beds was the reason Australia cravenly accepted Indonesia's act of war in the first place, to get a slice of them.

He was born in 1949* to Timor's small Muslim community, being descended from Yemeni immigrants. Portuguese Timor was always predominantly Roman Catholic. His religion has not hampered his accession to office, despite the fact that Roman Catholicism played an important role in East Timorese resistance against the mainly Muslim Indonesian aggressors.

At the age of 20 he was a founder of the Movement for the Liberation of East Timor, and later a founder of Fretilin, the principal national resistance movement, whose continued guerrilla war prevented Indonesia ever becoming secure with their conquest.

He and his wife Marina Ribeiro have three children.

* Well, he was 20 in January 1950 so I'm not sure.