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World > Asia > Indonesia > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Indonesia - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Indonesia is a republic based on the 1945 constitution providing for a separation of executive, legislative, and judicial power. Substantial restructuring has occurred since President Soeharto's resignation in 1998 and the short, transitional Habibie administration in 1998 and 1999. The Habibie government established political reform legislation that formally set up new rules for the electoral system, the House of Representatives (DPR), the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), and political parties without changing the 1945 Indonesian constitution. After these reforms, the constitution now limits the president to two terms in office.

The president, elected for a five-year term, is the top government and political figure. The president and the vice president were elected by popular vote for the first time on September 20, 2004. Previously, the MPR selected Indonesia's president. In 1999, the MPR selected Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur, as the fourth President. The MPR removed Gus Dur in July 2001, immediately appointing then-Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri as the fifth President. Megawati brought a certain amount of stability to Indonesia, yet there were concerns over progress on combating corruption and encouraging economic growth. In 2004, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected to succeed Megawati.

The president, assisted by an appointed cabinet, has the authority to conduct the administration of the government. President Yudhoyono's Democratic Party (PD), holds 55 of the 550 seats in the House of Representatives (DPR), making it the fourth-largest political party represented in the legislature as of mid-2006. Yudhoyono, however, also had the support of other political parties that combined to hold a majority of the seats in the DPR. The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) has 678 members, consisting of the 550 members of the DPR and the 128 representatives of the House of Regional Representatives (DPD), which includes four members from each of Indonesia's 32 provinces. Since 2004, all seats in the DPR and DPD have been held by legislators elected by the citizenry. Previously, some seats had been reserved for representatives of the armed forces. The military has been a significant political force throughout Indonesian history.

The armed forces shaped the political environment and provided leadership for Soeharto's New Order from the time it came to power in the wake of the abortive 1965 uprising. Military officers, especially from the army, were key advisers to Soeharto and Habibie and had considerable influence on policy. Under the dual function concept ('dwifungsi'), the military asserted a continuing role in socio-political affairs. This concept was used to justify placement of officers to serve in the civilian bureaucracy at all government levels. Although the military retains influence and is one of the only truly national institutions, the wide-ranging democratic reforms instituted since 1999 abolished 'dwifungsi' and ended the armed forces' formal involvement in government administration. The police have been separated from the military, further reducing the military's direct role in governmental matters. Control of the military by the democratically elected government has been strengthened.

As a reaction to Soeharto's centralization of power and reflecting historically independent sentiment, Hasan di Tiro established the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) in December 1976 to seek independence for Aceh. Some 15,000 died in military conflict in Aceh over the following three decades. Through peace talks led by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, a peace agreement between GAM and the Indonesian Government that provided wide-ranging autonomy for Aceh was signed on August 15, 2005. By December 2005, GAM declared that they had disbanded the military wing of their organization, and the Indonesian Government had withdrawn the bulk of its security forces down to agreed levels. On December 11, 2006, Aceh held gubernatorial and district administrative elections, the first democratic elections in over half a century in Aceh.

Principal Government Officials
President--Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Vice President--Jusuf Kalla
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Noer Hassan Wirajuda
Ambassador to the United States--Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat
Ambassador to the United Nations--Rezlan Izhar Jeni

The Embassy of Indonesia is at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-775-5200-5207; fax: 202-775-5365). Consulates General are in New York (5 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10021, tel. 212-879-0600/0615; fax: 212-570-6206); Los Angeles (3457 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010; tel. 213-383-5126; fax: 213-487-3971); Houston (10900 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77042; tel. 713-785-1691; fax: 713-780-9644). Consulates are in San Francisco (1111 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133; tel. 415-474-9571; fax: 415-441-4320); and Chicago (2 Illinois Center, Suite 1422233 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601; tel. 312-938-0101/4; 312-938-0311/0312; fax: 312-938-3148).


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Indonesian Rupiah Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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