Understanding The Election In Indonesia For Good

An election is a decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold formal office. This is the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy fills offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, and for regional and local government. This process is also used in many other private and business organizations, from clubs to voluntary associations and corporations.

The 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." Following the Indonesian 1998 Revolution and the resignation of President Suharto, several political reforms were set in motion.

Elections in Indonesia have taken place since 1955. At a national level, Indonesian people elect a head of state У the president У and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term, as are the 550-member People's Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) and the 128-seat Regional Representatives Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah).

A constitutional reform process has been underway since 1999, and has already produced several important changes. Among these are term limits of up to two 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 included electing the president and vice president (since 2004 the president is 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.

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 was ended before the general election in 2004 and will end in the MPR in 2009. Societal group representation in the MPR was eliminated in 2004 through further constitutional change. Military domination of regional administration is gradually breaking down, with new regulations prohibiting active-duty officers from holding political office.

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.

By: evytaar