democracy in indonesia has been under serious strain lately. In East Timor, the independence movement began to die down after several years. Nowadays, the problems in East Timor are much worse than they were during the early stages of the movement. The leaders of the independence movement were being sought by the Indonesian military junta and international terrorist groups were supplying arms and men to take part in the bloody battle. These developments have led to many unanswered questions regarding what happened to the independence movement in East Timor and if these places will ever go to peaceful and free elections.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a multi-ethnic country in South-East Asia and Oceania, between the Pacific and Indian oceans. It constitutes about seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and other parts of Borneo, New Guinea and parts of the Philippines. The population constitutes more than a hundred million people, with the major national language, Indonesian, spoken by eighty percent of the population. There are about eighty political parties in the parliament, with thirty two parties in the lower house, nineteen in the upper house and one in the senate. The constitution of Indonesia guarantees freedom of religion and political parties are allowed to hold free public meetings.
After the Second World War, the country gained independence from Japan and the Republic of South Korea. Under the leadership of the communist leader, the People’s Republic of Korea, which was technically a socialist state, a series of social democratic governments were established. Under the leadership of president Park Chung-hee, the democrats set up a system of direct democracy through open elections. However, following the death of president Park Chung-hee, the people elected a new president called General Susilo Bambang. General Bambang put an end to a period of sustained economic prosperity and began a period of military rule, which lasted until the formation of the constitutional republic in 1945.
Following the end of military rule, an interim government was formed, which was inclusive of all major political parties and Indonesian citizens. On December 17, the constitution was approved by a national plebiscite and the National Civic Coalition (NCD) was established as the ruling party. The NDC consists of four representatives from each of the fifty states of Indonesia. On December 24, President Bambang announced that he will be forming a presidential council for a national forum for improvement of living standards and would call for a general election to be held within three months.
The new constitution approved by the plebiscite includes a section which provides for the continued existence of the current system of government through the election of a National Parliament, which is composed of the ruling party, the majority of members of the parliament and independents. The constitution also includes provisions for a multiparty election system through a consultative process with the participation of all other opposition parties. In addition, a council for development of reforms within the framework of the democracy in indonesia was also declared. The council consists of a governor, vice Governors, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, together with the prime minister and the ministers of various ministries. The consultative council, with the support of the people’s representatives, will make recommendations for changes which may be brought about in the political system.
The process of establishing democracy in indonesia has been a long and complicated one. There were periods of extreme intolerance which followed coups and there were instances of total upheaval and violence. However, after more than 20 years, the country has experienced smooth and happy transitions towards a more progressive political system. Through this process, democracy in indonesia has made steady advances and now stands strong as one of the leading nations of Southeast Asia.