Since the country gained independence in 1945, Indonesia has had a democratic experiment. The political system is composed of a range of political institutions and nongovernmental organizations, most of which are dedicated to defending human rights, environment, and democracy. The first democratic election in Indonesia took place in 1965, and the following year, an opposition coalition won. However, despite the emergence of nongovernmental organizations and a growing opposition movement, Indonesian democracy is far from perfect.
In 1965, Indonesia’s military reacted with violence and overthrew Sukarno’s autocratic regime and installed an anticommunist purge. In June, a new national parliament was elected, including representatives of the police and armed forces. Megawati Sukarnoputri was elected as president, and her PDI-P party won the most seats in the DPR, with the largest share of the vote.
While foreign funding for Islamic institutions in Indonesia has increased, it has not been enough to end the violence and repression. It has fueled anti-Christian prejudice and has weakened tolerance. Meanwhile, the government continues to impose its own laws and enact new laws, which are unconstitutional in the country. While Indonesia has made strides toward a more democratic society, it has not done so consistently. In fact, the Indonesian government has been increasingly repressive of dissent.
There are several problems with Indonesia’s current democracy. The government has a limited approach to the practice of democracy and the country’s party system is flawed. This system is riddled with corruption and the government has a hard time defending itself. The public is also not adequately informed about the political process, resulting in the dissolution of Islamic Defenders Front. The government has also faced threats against free speech and the suppression of non-conforming views.
The failure of Wahid’s presidency prompted wide-ranging reforms. One of these was the creation of a constitutional court to monitor impeach the president. A constitutional court is also needed to regulate the relationship between the executive, legislature, and judiciary. In this way, the Indonesian constitution could have evolved differently than it has today. Its founders were determined to create a vibrant democracy and prevent the country’s decline.
While the MPR is the primary legislative branch of the Indonesian government, it does not have complete control over national politics. While the President is responsible for drafting the constitution, the DPR is the body responsible for establishing broad lines of state policy. The MPR was a unicameral body until the 2004 elections, but now it is a bicameral legislature with an upper house DPD. The lower house of the MPR has four-fifths of the seats.
While democracy in Indonesia is still relatively new, the country’s government has remained committed to preserving the principles of its society. Its president has, for example, reaffirmed the importance of religious tolerance and religious pluralism. Nevertheless, the political system is still vulnerable to corruption and collusion. Money-politics in Indonesia elections continues to plague the election process, and it has influenced the outcome.