Indonesian Politics (Short Introduction)

I got this idea to write about a short description of Indonesian politics since I know that many of this blog visitors come from outside Indonesia. I also write this one to fellow Indonesians who has not been aware of the political development of our beloved country. I am just an ordinary citizen who happens to be interested to follow politic news. I am not affiliated to any political party since I always juggle my vote on each election.

Indonesia is an archipelago republic located in South East Asia. We are truly a democratic nation, at least ever since the Reformation Movement of 1998 which has caused the constitution to be amended in 1999. With more than 200 billion population, Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in this planet after China, India, and USA. Around 80 percent of the population adhere to Islam with the rest share faith in Christianity, Hindu, Buddhism, and other indigenous faiths. Even though Islam is the dominant religion of the people, Indonesia has never been an Islamic nation, though some groups have always been keen to make it so. The constitution protects the people's freedom of choosing one's religion but bans atheism. The national ideology is Pancasila (the fivefold principles) stated in the introduction of 1945 State Constitution, which covers: monotheism, humanism, nationality, democracy, and social justice.

The nationwide general election is conducted every 5 years in two or sometimes three steps. The first is the election to vote for any political party to get a seat at local, regional, and national House of Representatives. The House of Representatives plays the legislative power of the nation. The first step of election has now also been used to vote for regional representative (some kind of senator but the should not affiliate with any political parties) seats for the Regional Representatives Committee who will make sure that the central government pays attention to regional needs. The members of both house (House of Representatives and Regional Senate) will share seats in the People's Consultative Assembly, the authoritative house who has the power to appoint the President and Vice President (based on the result of Presidential General Election) and amend the constitution.

The major political parties in Indonesia as of now is:
  1. Golkar party, once the biggest party in New Order regime led by Suharto, is a Pancasila-based party with close emotional ties to the late Gen. Suharto who ruled Indonesia for 32 years. The current chairman of this party is Jusuf Kalla, the current Indonesian VP.
  2. Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, a Pancasila-based party with close emotional ties to Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia. This party is led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, the eldest daughter of the late Sukarno.
  3. United Development Party, the so far still biggest Islam-based party in Indonesia but is now lacked of charismatic leaders to revive the constituents it once had in the past. Many of its voters have swung their affiliation with other Islamic parties, but this party is still popular among the older rural right-leaned voters. The current leader of this party is Suryadharma Ali, a minister in the SBY's cabinet.
  4. Democrat Party, led indirectly by the current president Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or commonly called as SBY (his initials). It is a Pancasila-based party.
  5. Prosperous Justice Party, a once Islamic sharia-based party but has started to find ways to become a more moderate Islamic party, is the candidate to be the biggest Islamic party in the future. This party is hugely popular among Indonesian Muslim youth.
  6. National Awakening Party, founded by former president and charismatic cleric, Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur, who is known for his pluralistic and humanistic views. This is a Pancasila-based party with its emphasis on national unity. Most of the voters of this party comes from the members of Nahdatul Ulama, the biggest Islam denomination, in the country which was once headed by Gus Dur himself.
  7. National Mandate Party, founded by popular politician and once a presidential candidate, Amien Rais. This is a Pancasila-based party with a strong Islam color. Most of its voters comes from the members of Muhammadiah, the second largest Islam denomination in the country, which was led by Amien Rais in the past.
The first step of the General Election will allocate the seats of the House of Representatives. The winning parties will then form a liquid coalition to nominate a package of President & Vice President candidates since ever since the 1998 reformation no party has ever managed to win the majority votes. The second step of the Election is to vote directly for the President and VP. The candidates must get more than 50% of the votes to be the winner. If none of the contestants manage to do so, there will be third step of Election to vote for presidency. They will take the number one and number two major votes from the previous election to compete again. The winner of the third election will be officially appointed President-Vice President by the People's Consultative Assembly.

The president will hold office for 5 years and is able to fight for the second term but not for the third according to the amended constitution. The president will act as the head of the nation as well as the head of the government. We don't have prime minister here in Indonesia. The amended constitution has also given ways to direct election of majors and governors. Indonesia will have the general election again next year.


Anonymous said…
i prefer not to vote to any party. i'm really disappointed to our government and only can pray for this country to be better