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The political system of Indonesia is a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. Indonesia is a unitary state with power concentrated in the national government. In the Indonesian government, the powers is vested in the executive, which is exercised by the government, legislative power is vested in both the government and the two People’s Representative Councils and the judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The Constitutional System

The Indonesian constitution was first written in July and August 1945 at the end of World War II but it was abolished by the Federal Constitution of 1949 and the Provisional Constitution of 1950. Finally on 5th July 1959 the constitution was restored.

Executive Branch

The President of Indonesia is both head of state and head of government and of a multi-party system. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Indonesian armed forces, and responsible for domestic governance, policy-making and foreign affairs. The president and vice president are both selected by the vote of the citizens for a term of five years. Previously prior to 2004 they were elected by the People’s Consultative Assembly. Its also the president who heads the United Indonesia Cabinet or the ‘Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu’ and elects the council of ministers.

Legislative Branch

In the political system of Indonesia the highest representative body at national level is the People’s Consultative Assembly or the ‘Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat’ (MPR). MPR also has the power to impeach the President. It has two lower houses or chambers, viz the People’s Representative Council or the ‘Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat’ (DPR) and the Regional Representatives Council or the ‘Dewan Perwakilan Daerah’ (DPD). The DPR has 550 members, elected for a five year term by proportional representation in multi-member constituencies and the DPD has 168 members. All legislation is passed by the legislative body DPR which also monitors the executive branch. After the 2004 election the MPR became a bicameral parliament, with the DPD as its second chamber in an effort to increase regional representation.

Judicial Branch

The highest level of judicial branch in Indonesia is the Supreme Court or the ‘Mahkamah Agung’. The president appoints the judges of the Supreme Court. Besides Indonesia has a different court for different matters. All civil disputes appear first before a State Court before being heard in the High Court. There’s the Commercial Court to handle bankruptcy and insolvency; a State Administrative Court to hear administrative law cases against the government; a Constitutional Court to hear disputes concerning legality of law products, dissolution of political parties, general elections and the scope of authority of a state institution; and a Religious Court to deal with specific religious cases.

The Political Party

The main political parties of Indonesia are the Democratic Party (PD ) the Functional Groups Party (Golkar), Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDIP), and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Administrative Divisions

Indonesia consists of 33 provinces, 4 of which have special status) including a special capital region. Each of these provinces has its own political legislature and is headed by a governor.

Modern Political Culture

The major components of Indonesia’s modern political culture were derived from two central goals of the New Order government: stability and development. If authority in the Suharto era was based on ABRI’s coercive support, the government’s legitimacy rested on its success in achieving sociopolitical stability and economic development. Indonesian political culture in the early 1990s primarily reflected nontraditional, nonethnic, and secular values. Urban centered, truly national in its scope, and more materialistically focused, Indonesia’s politics in the 1990s were influenced by both domestic and international developments.

Like Islam, Indonesia’s modern political culture was not monolithic. In the early 1990s, there was a variety of subcultures: bureaucratic, military, intellectual, commercial, literary, and artistic, each with its own criteria for judging politics, but all directed to the successful operation of the modern political system. Perhaps the two most important modern subcultures were the military and the intellectuals.

It was the military subculture that set the tone for the first two decades of the Suharto government, both in terms of its ethos and in the direct participation of military officers at all levels of government and administration. Although increasingly professional in a technical sense, ABRI never lost its conception of itself as the embodiment of the national spirit, standing above the social, ethnic, and religious divisions of the country as a unifying institution.

The concerns of academics, writers, and other intellectuals in the early 1990s were different and they were more likely to be influenced by Western political values. It was from these circles that the pressure for democratization came. Their outlet was not political parties but cause-oriented nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), workshops, seminars, rallies, and, occasionally, demonstrations. The government undertook a major effort to subsume all of Indonesia’s political cultures, with their different and often incompatible criteria for legitimacy, into a national political culture, an Indonesian culture based on the values set forth in the Pancasila.