Politics of Indonesia

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Politics of Indonesia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Indonesia is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two People's Representative Councils. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The 1945 constitution provided for a limited separation of executive, legislative and judicial power. The governmental system has been described as "presidential with parliamentary characteristics."[1] Following the Indonesian riots of May 1998 and the resignation of President Suharto, several political reforms were set in motion via amendments to the Constitution of Indonesia, which resulted in changes to all branches of government.


Map showing the parties/organisations with the largest vote share per province in Indonesia's elections from 1971 to 2009

The Reformation

A constitutional reform process lasted from 1999 to 2002, with four constitutional amendments producing important changes.[2]

Among these are term limits of up to 2 five-year terms for the President and Vice-President, and measures to institute checks and balances. The highest state institution is the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), whose functions previously included electing the president and vice-president (since 2004 the president has been elected directly by the people), establishing broad guidelines of state policy, and amending the constitution. The 695-member MPR includes all 550 members of the People's Representative Council (DPR) (the House of Representatives) plus 130 "regional representatives" elected by the twenty-six provincial parliaments and sixty-five appointed members from societal groups[3]

The DPR, which is the premier legislative institution, originally included 462 members elected through a mixed proportional/district representational system and thirty-eight appointed members of the armed forces (TNI) and police (POLRI). TNI/POLRI representation in the DPR and MPR ended in 2004. Societal group representation in the MPR was eliminated in 2004 through further constitutional change.[4][5]

Having served as rubberstamp bodies in the past, the DPR and MPR have gained considerable power and are increasingly assertive in oversight of the executive branch. Under constitutional changes in 2004, the MPR became a bicameral legislature, with the creation of the Dewan Perwakilan Daerah (DPD), in which each province is represented by four members, although its legislative powers are more limited than those of the DPR. Through his appointed cabinet, the president retains the authority to conduct the administration of the government.[6]

A general election in June 1999 produced the first freely elected national, provincial and regional parliaments in over forty years. In October 1999 the MPR elected a compromise candidate, Abdurrahman Wahid, as the country's fourth president, and Megawati Sukarnoputri — a daughter of Sukarno, the country's first president — as the vice-president. Megawati's PDI-P party had won the largest share of the vote (34%) in the general election, while Golkar, the dominant party during the Soeharto era, came in second (22%). Several other, mostly Islamic parties won shares large enough to be seated in the DPR. Further democratic elections took place in 2004 and 2009.

The Indonesian political system before and after the constitutional amendments

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Joko Widodo Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle 20 October 2014

The president and vice-president are selected by vote of the citizens for five-year terms. Prior to 2004, they were chosen by People's Consultative Assembly. The last election was held 9 July 2014. The president heads the Kabinet Kerja. The President of Indonesia is directly elected for a maximum of two five-year terms, and is the head of state, commander-in-chief of Indonesian armed forces and responsible for domestic governance and policy-making and foreign affairs. The president appoints a cabinet, who do not have to be elected members of the legislature.[7]

Legislative branch

The legislative building complex

The People's Consultative Assembly (Indonesian: Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, MPR) is the legislative branch in Indonesia's political system. Following elections in 2004, the MPR became a bicameral parliament, with the creation of the DPD as its second chamber in an effort to increase regional representation.[8] The Regional Representatives Council (Indonesian: Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD) is the upper house of The People's Consultative Assembly. The lower house is The People's Representative Council (Indonesian: Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR), sometimes referred to as the House of Representatives, which has 550 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation in multi-member constituencies.

Political parties and elections

The General Elections Commission (Indonesian: Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU ) is the body responsible for running both parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia. Article 22E(5) of the Constitution rules that the Commission is national, permanent, and independent. Prior to the General Election of 2004, KPU was made up of members who were also members of political parties. However, members of KPU must now be non-partisan.

e • d  Summary of the 8 July 2009 Indonesian presidential election results
Seats Votes %
Democratic Party coalition
Presidential candidate: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Running mate: Boediono
314 73,874,562 60.80
  • 18 unseated parties
Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle and Great Indonesia Movement Party coalition
Presidential candidate: Megawati Sukarnoputri
Running mate: Prabowo Subianto
121 32,548,105 26.79
  • 7 unseated parties
Golkar and People's Conscience Party coalition
Presidential candidate: Jusuf Kalla
Running mate: Wiranto
125 15,081,814 12.41
Total 560 121,504,481 100.00
Source: Tempo[9] and Jakarta Globe[10]
Note: A party or coalition had to win 112 (20 percent) of 560 People's Representative Council seats in the
April legislative election in order to nominate candidates for president and vice president.
e • d  Summary of the 9 April 2009 Indonesian People's Representative Council election results
Parties Votes % Seats % +/-
Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat, PD) 21,655,295 20.85 148 26.43 +93
Party of the Functional Groups (Partai Golongan Karya, Golkar) 15,031,497 14.45 106 18.93 -22
Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, PDI–P) 14,576,388 14.03 94 16.79 -15
Prosperous Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera, PKS) 8,204,946 7.88 57 10.18 +12
National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional, PAN) 6,273,462 6.01 46 8.21 -7
United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, PPP) 5,544,332 5.32 38 6.79 -20
National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa, PKB) 5,146,302 4.94 28 5.00 -24
Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya, Gerindra) 4,642,795 4.46 26 4.64 n/a
People's Conscience Party (Partai Hati Nurani Rakyat, Hanura) 3,925,620 3.77 17 3.03 n/a
Crescent Star Party (Partai Bulan Bintang, PBB) 1,864,642 1.79 0 0.00 -11
Ulema National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Nasional Ulama, PKNU) 1,527,509 1.47 0 0.00 n/a
Prosperous Peace Party (Partai Damai Sejahtera, PDS) 1,522,032 1.48 0 0.00 -13
Concern for the Nation Functional Party (Partai Karya Peduli Bangsa, PKPB) 1,461,375 1.40 0 0.00 –2
Reform Star Party (Partai Bintang Reformasi, PBR) 1,264,150 1.21 0 0.00 –14
National People's Concern Party (Partai Peduli Rakyat Nasional, PPRN) 1,260,950 1.21 0 0.00 n/a
Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (Partai Keadilan dan Persatuan Indonesia, PKPI) 936,133 0.90 0 0.00 –1
Democratic Renewal Party (Partai Demokrasi Pembaruan, PDP) 896,959 0.86 0 0.00 n/a
National Front Party (Partai Barisan Nasional, Barnas) 760,712 0.73 0 0.00 n/a
Indonesian Workers and Employers Party (Partai Pengusaha dan Pekerja Indonesia, PPPI) 745,965 0.72 0 0.00 n/a
Democratic Nationhood Party (Partai Demokrasi Kebangsaan, PDK) 671,356 0.64 0 0.00 –4
Archipelago Republic Party (Partai Republik Nusantara, PRN) 631,814 0.61 0 0.00 n/a
Regional Unity Party (Partai Persatuan Daerah, PPD) 553,299 0.53 0 0.00 ±0
Patriot Party (Partai Patriot) 547,798 0.53 0 0.00 ±0
Indonesian National Populist Fortress Party (Partai Nasional Benteng Kerakyatan Indonesia, PNBKI) 468,856 0.45 0 0.00 ±0
Sovereignty Party (Partai Kedaulatan) 438,030 0.42 0 0.00 n/a
Indonesian Youth Party (Partai Pemuda Indonesia, PPI) 415,563 0.40 0 0.00 n/a
National Sun Party (Partai Matahari Bangsa, PMB) 415,294 0.40 0 0.00 n/a
Functional Party of Struggle (Partai Karya Perjuangan, PKP) 351,571 0.34 0 0.00 n/a
Pioneers' Party (Partai Pelopor) 345,092 0.33 0 0.00 –3
Indonesian Democratic Party of Devotion (Partai Kasih Demokrasi Indonesia, PKDI) 325,771 0.31 0 0.00 n/a
Prosperous Indonesia Party (Partai Indonesia Sejahtera, PIS) 321,019 0.31 0 0.00 n/a
Indonesian National Party Marhaenism (Partai Nasional Indonesia Marhaenisme, PNI Marhaenisme) 317,443 0.30 0 0.00 –1
Labor Party (Partai Buruh) 265,369 0.25 0 0.00 ±0
New Indonesia Party of Struggle (Partai Perjuangan Indonesia Baru, PPIB) 198,803 0.19 0 0.00 ±0
Indonesian Nahdlatul Community Party (Partai Persatuan Nahdlatul Ummah Indonesia, PPNUI) 146,831 0.14 0 0.00 ±0
Indonesian Unity Party (Partai Sarikat Indonesia, PSI) 141,558 0.14 0 0.00 ±0
Indonesian Democratic Vanguard Party (Partai Penegak Demokrasi Indonesia, PPDI) 139,988 0.13 0 0.00 –1
Freedom Party (Partai Merdeka) 111,609 0.11 0 0.00 ±0
Total 104,048,118 100.00 560 100.00 +10
Source: General Election Commission[11] and People's Representative Council website[12]
Note: Seat change totals are displayed only for parties which stood in the previous election, including those which changed party names
Parties contesting in Aceh only
Aceh Party (Partai Aceh) 1,007,713 46.91 N/A N/A N/A
Aceh Sovereignty Party (Partai Daulat Atjeh, PDA) 39,706 1.85 N/A N/A N/A
Independent Voice of the Acehnese Party (Partai Suara Independen Rakyat Aceh, SIRA) 38,157 1.78 N/A N/A N/A
Aceh People's Party (Partai Rakyat Aceh, PRA) 36,574 1.70 N/A N/A N/A
Aceh Unity Party (Partai Bersatu Aceh, PBA) 16,602 0.77 N/A N/A N/A
Prosperous and Safe Aceh Party (Partai Aceh Aman Sejahtera, PAAS) 11,117 0.52 N/A N/A N/A
Source: Edwin Yustian Driyartana (2010) p81 [13] and Sigit Pamungkas (2011) p22, [14]
Note: Aceh local parties only contested for the regional legislative assemblies, not the DPR. Results are included here for completeness. The remainder of the votes were won by national parties.

Judicial branch

The Indonesian Supreme Court (Indonesian: Mahkamah Agung) is the highest level of the judicial branch. Its judges are appointed by the president. The Constitutional Court rules on constitutional and political matters (Indonesian: Mahkamah Konstitusi), while a Judicial Commission (Indonesian: Komisi Yudisial) oversees the judges.[15]

Foreign relations

During the regime of president Suharto, Indonesia built strong relations with the United States and had difficult relations with the People's Republic of China owing to Indonesia's anti-communist policies and domestic tensions with the Chinese community. It received international denunciation for its annexation of East Timor in 1978. Indonesia is a founding member of the Association of South East Asian Nations, and thereby a member of both ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit. Since the 1980s, Indonesia has worked to develop close political and economic ties between South East Asian nations, and is also influential in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Indonesia was heavily criticised between 1975 and 1999 for allegedly suppressing human rights in East Timor, and for supporting violence against the East Timorese following the latter's secession and independence in 1999. Since 2001, the government of Indonesia has co-operated with the US in cracking down on Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist groups.

See also


  1. King, Blair. A Inside Indonesia:Constitutional tinkering: The search for consensus is taking time access date 23 May 2009
  2. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 360-361
  3. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 361-362
  4. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 293-296
  5. "Indonesia's military: Business as usual". 16 August 2002.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 265, 361, 441
  7. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 361, 443, 440
  8. Denny Indrayana (2008), pp. 264-265, 367
  9. (Indonesian) Pramono (2009-05-16). "Sebanyak 23 Partai Dukung Pendaftaran SBY-Boediono". Tempo. Retrieved 2009-05-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Pasandaran, Camelia (2009-07-23). "Final Election Results Confirm Victory For SBY-Boediono, But Protests Linger". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 2009-07-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. (Indonesian) "Pemilu 2009 Dalam Angka (" (PDF). Komisi Pemilihan Umum. January 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. (Indonesian) "Fraksi: Tata Tertib DPR RI Mengenai Fraksi". People's Representative Council website. Retrieved 2009-11-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. (Indonesian) "Kedudukan Partai Politik Lokal Di Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Ditinjau Dari Asas Demokrasi (The Position of local Political Parties in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam COnsidered from the Fundamentals of Democracy) Undergraduate thesis". Law Faculty, 11 March University, Surakarta. October 2010. Retrieved 2012-07-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. (Indonesian) Partai Politik Teori dan Praktik di Indonesia (Political Parties: Theory and Practice in Indonesia), Institute for Democracy and Welfarism, Jakarta, ISBN 979-602-96382-29
  15. Denny Indrayana (2008), p266 - 267

Further reading

  • Denny Indrayana (2008) Indonesian Constitutional Reform 1999-2002: An Evaluation of Constitution-Making in Transition, Kompas Book Publishing, Jakarta ISBN 978-979-709-394-5
  • O'Rourke, Kevin. 2002. Reformasi: the struggle for power in post-Soeharto Indonesia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-754-8
  • Schwarz, Adam. 2000. A nation in waiting: Indonesia's search for stability. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3650-3

External links