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Indonesia - Politics

Sukarno (since 1950, aka Soekarno) 17 Aug 194512 Mar 1967 PNI
Suharto (Soeharto)12 Mar 196721 May 1998 Golkar
Bacharuddin Jusef ("B.J.") Habibie 21 May 199820 Oct 1999 Golkar
Abdurrahman Wahid "Gus Dur" 20 Oct 199923 Jul 2001PKB
Dyah Permata Megawati Setyawati Sukarnoputri23 Jul 200120 Oct 2004PDI-P
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ("SBY") 20 Oct 200420 Oct 2014PD
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo20 Oct 20142019 + 5?PDI-P

Unsuccessful rebellions on Sumatra, Sulawesi, West Java, and other islands beginning in 1958, plus a failure by the constituent assembly to develop a new constitution, weakened Indonesia's parliamentary system. From 1959 to 1965, President Sukarno imposed an authoritarian regime under the label of "Guided Democracy." Although he remained President, in March 1966, Sukarno transferred key political and military powers to General Suharto, who by that time had become head of the armed forces. In March 1967, the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS) named General Suharto acting President. President Suharto proclaimed a "New Order" in Indonesian politics.

At the end of 1997 Indonesia plunged into a very deep financial crisis. This crisis very quickly snow balling into economics and the political crisis nation wide. The resulting turmoil brought the down fall of the Soeharto’s government six month later. Amid widespread civil unrest, Suharto resigned on May 21, 1998, and Suharto's hand-picked Vice President, B.J. Habibie, became Indonesia's third President. The ever growing multi dimensional crisis set the scene for Indonesia's first elections in the post-Suharto period, held for the national, provincial, and sub-provincial parliaments on June 7, 1999. Forty-eight political parties participated in the elections. For the national parliament, Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDI-P, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, led by Megawati Sukarnoputri) won 34% of the vote; Golkar ("Functional Groups" party) 22%; Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB, National Awakening Party, linked to the moderate Islamic organization Nadhlatul Ulama headed by former President Abdurrahman Wahid) 13%; and the conservative Islamic Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP, United Development Party, led by Hamzah Haz) 11%. The MPR selected Abdurrahman Wahid as Indonesia's fourth President in November 1999 and replaced him with Megawati Sukarnoputri in July 2001.

The first direct presidential election was held on July 5, 2004, contested by five tickets. As no candidate won at least 50% of the vote, a runoff election was held on September 20, 2004, between the top two candidates, President Megawati Sukarnoputri and retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In this final round, Yudhoyono won 60.6% of the vote. Approximately 76.6% of the eligible voters participated, a total of roughly 117 million people, making Indonesia's presidential election the largest single-day election in the world. The Carter Center, which sent a delegation of election observers, issued a statement congratulating "the people and leaders of Indonesia for the successful conduct of the presidential election and the peaceful atmosphere that has prevailed throughout the ongoing democratic transition."

President Yudhoyono emerged from the elections with a mandate from the Indonesian people. President Yudhoyono placed priority on economic growth and poverty reduction, recognizing that Indonesia had recovered from the 1997-1998 financial and economic crisis. The Government of Indonesia announced an ambitious reform program, boosted investor confidence, attacked corruption and made a push for infrastructure development. President Yudhoyono remains committed to this program. Real GDP growth increased to 5.1 percent in 2004, and the Indonesian economy has been resilient in spite of the tsunami, avian influenza, polio, and high world oil prices.

In July 2009 President Yudhoyono was reelected overwhelmingly in generally free and fair elections. To win in one round, a presidential candidate was required to receive more than 50% of the vote and more than 20% of the vote in 17 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces. If no candidate did so, the top two candidates would have competed in a second round in September 2009. Three tickets competed in the presidential elections. Incumbent President Yudhoyono and his running mate, non-partisan former Central Bank Chair and Economics Minister Boediono, won the election with such a significant plurality--60.6%--that it obviated the need for a second round of elections. Main challenger and former president and opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri and running mate Prabowo Subianto trailed with 28%. Meanwhile, Vice President Jusuf Kalla and running mate Wiranto came in last at 12.7%. Indonesia’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) inaugurated President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his second term as president on October 20, 2009.

During 2010 there were 244 regional elections scheduled; there were also elections for seven governors and 237 mayors/regents. In August, of 57 candidates not identified with a political party, only one was victorious, in the district of Sidoarjo, East Java. During 2010 the Constitutional Court received 230 requests to adjudicate election disputes. Of these, 224 were decided, with 26 rulings in favor of complainants. As a result of the decisions, there were election reruns in Surabaya, Manado, and Merauke. In addition, the court called for election reruns in Mandailing Natal and in South Tangerang City. At year's end six cases were pending.

In a few isolated cases, local elections led to civil disturbances. For example, on 21 May 2010, supporters of a candidate disqualified because he had not passed a required medical examination rioted in Mojokerto, East Java. The rioters attacked official buildings and burned dozens of official cars. Thirteen persons were injured. Despite this incident, the 07 June 2010 election went smoothly. In other cases, on 01 June 2010, supporters of a disqualified candidate for regent burned ballots and ballot boxes in seven district offices in Toli-Toli, Central Sulawesi. On 08 June 2010, approximately 400 supporters of a losing candidate clashed with police personnel and threw stones at the election commission office in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara. The crowd also destroyed a political party's office and burned a car. Clashes broke out again on 14 June 2010, injuring dozens of persons.

In South Sulawesi, on 23 June 2010, thousands of persons threw stones and destroyed the election commission office in Tana Toraja, claiming the election commission was not neutral. They also burned ballot papers, burned cars, and destroyed four district offices, the speaker of the local parliament's residence, the election monitoring board's office, and the Golkar office. On June 26, thousands of supporters of six losing candidates rioted in Soppeng. They burned the election commission's office, burned dozens of ballot boxes, and destroyed four district offices. Also on 26 June 2010, an unidentified group of people threw Molotov cocktails at the Tanralili district office in Maros following local elections in this regency. A clash also broke out on the same day between supporters of two candidates in Gowa. No casualties were reported in this clash.

There are no legal restrictions on the role of women in politics. A law on political parties mandated that women make up 30 percent of the founding members of a new political party. An election law, which included a nonbinding clause for parties to select women for at least 30 percent of the candidate slots on their party lists, ensured parties put forward more women candidates. The Constitutional Court invalidated this clause when it struck down the law and ruled voters for the first time could directly elect their representatives, regardless of their position on party lists. The number of women in parliament increased significantly, from 11 percent to 18 percent of the DPR seats in the April 2009 elections. During the year women held five of 37 cabinet-level positions.

At the provincial level, by 2010 there was one female governor and one vice governor. Women held disproportionately few leadership positions in local government in some provinces; for example, in Aceh the highest position held by a woman was that of deputy mayor, in the city of Banda Aceh. Women played an increasingly important political role in East Java. The number of female members of the Surabaya city parliament increased from four in the previous parliament to 15, or 30 percent of the total. In the East Java provincial parliament, the female members of parliament increased from 16 percent to 19 percent of the total. More women also became regents and mayors in East Java, such as the regent of Tuban, the regent of Banyuwangi, and the Surabaya mayor.

With the exception of Aceh Province, where non-Muslims were effectively blocked from political office by a requirement that all candidates must demonstrate their ability to read the Qur'an in Arabic, there were no legal restrictions on the role of minorities in politics. There were no official statistics on the ethnic backgrounds of legislators in the DPR. President Yudhoyono's cabinet consisted of a plurality of Javanese, with others being of Sundanese, Bugis, Batak, Acehnese, Papuan, Balinese, and Chinese heritage.

Although the Papua Special Autonomy Law permits flying a flag symbolizing Papua’s cultural identity, a government regulation prohibits the display of the Morning Star flag in Papua, the Republic of South Moluccas (RMS) flag in Maluku, and the Free Aceh Movement Crescent Moon flag in Aceh. There were no reported new arrests related to the display of the RMS flag or the Free Aceh Movement flag in 2012. However, police continued to imprison individuals for raising the Morning Star flag in Papua. According to reliable NGOs, between June and September 2012, authorities arrested more than 60 people in Papua for flag-related offenses. Police held most of them for one to three days before releasing them.

Individuals and organizations have the right to criticize the government publicly and privately and could discuss almost all matters of public interest without reprisal. The law criminalizes content that advocates separatism. Some NGOs and other organizations alleged government monitoring of their organizations, and government application of treason laws in cases of peaceful calls for separatism in Papua limited the rights of individuals to engage in speech deemed to be proseparatist.

The presidential election on 09 July 2014, between the popular governor of Jakarta, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, and former general Prabowo Subianto, would determine who would lead the archipelago over the next five years. Some 186 million people were eligible to vote. Parties need 25 percent of the national vote or 20 percent of the seats in parliament to be able to field a presidential candidate on their own. Otherwise a coalition must be formed with one or more parties. If the results are confirmed, PDI-P will most likely need to partner with another group to allow its star candidate, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, to run in July's presidential election. Widodo, known as "Jokowi," was popular for his reputation for transparency and his hands-on approach to governance.

Indonesia's presidential election was too close to call, according to regional analysts. Prabowo made stamping out government corruption a focal point of his candidacy, and despite allegations of corruption, he appeared to have gained the upper hand on that issue. Many business leaders though remained unconvinced, warning they would leave Indonesia if Prabowo won the election for fear of corruption. Having performed well in televised debates, Prabowo's personality and constant campaigning appear to have given him good traction, but Joko had his best debate performance during the final debate. Some pollsters gave Jakarta governor Joko Widodo a slight edge over former military general Prabowo Subianto in Wednesday's vote, but nothing is certain they say. Polls indicated 10 percent of the voters were still undecided and their choice would likely decide the fate of this election.

With more than 80 percent of the votes counted, unofficial results from the poll indicated Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, led ex-army General Prabowo Subianto. The quick count, based on a sample of votes and conducted by the reputable Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) put Widodo in front with 52.74 percent of the vote against Prabowo with 47.26 percent. The two quick counts that showed Prabowo in front, conducted by Puskaptis and the Indonesia Voice Network, were seen as less credible than CSIS. Official results were expected to be announced on 21 July 2014.

After a drawn-out election process and dual claims to the presidency, on 22 July 2014 Indonesia officially announced Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, as the country’s next president. Widodo won 53 percent of the vote. In an impassioned speech just hours before the official results were announced, former army General Prabowo Subianto declared he was pulling out of the race. Subianto said the election was neither clean, nor fair and was tainted by widespread fraud. Subianto said he would challenge the result at the country's Constitutional Court. Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla, set to be inaugurated on October 20, will lead Indonesia for the next five years.

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Page last modified: 31-10-2019 16:44:13 ZULU