democracy in Indonesia is a participative form of government where the people decide their fate through an open-range plebiscitary election based on universal suffrage and proportional representation. Indonesia has an estimated population of around 250 million and is made up of more than half the world’s tropical islands. It is widely dispersed geographically, with most of its population centered in Central Java in the South, and on the East and West coasts. Jakarta, the capital city, is the country’s largest and most crowded city. Jakarta has a great range of public and private buildings to choose from, some of which you will visit while you are there.
Indonesia is an extremely multicultural country. It is made up of diverse linguistic and ethnic backgrounds and has a population that is more evenly distributed than many other countries in the world. Because Indonesia was an Italian colony, much of its heritage is Italian and because of that you can find many restaurants that serve Italian food that originated in Indonesia. Indonesia is governed by a Constitution which was adopted by the Indonesian people in 1947 after independence. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. Although these freedoms are important to every citizen, especially the Christians, they have been under-protected in the past, particularly during periods of military rule.
The people in Indonesia are generally moderate and peaceful people, who follow the traditions of Suharto. However, some groups of radicals called terrorists or violent fundamentalists have been trying to carve an independent nation out of what was formerly the United States sphere of influence in the region. A popular term that Americans in Indonesia have used to describe the radicals is “Pusy,” which is derived from a corruption of the word “pus” which is an offensive word. It is an unfortunate word that is hated by almost all the Indonesian people and by Americans in particular. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has described the Indonesian political system as ” pluralistic and democratic”, adding that American citizens have been offering support to the country’s transition to democracy.
Many foreigners who have been visiting Indonesia in recent years have expressed their admiration for the way the new constitution has been set up giving more power to the president and the role of the parliament in electing a president. Some critics of democracy in Indonesia have said that the current system is fairest, but without any guarantees that future governments would be stable. The first step in establishing democracy in Indonesia was the takeover of the Indonesian Islands by the military during the period of World War II. Since then the country has been through several military coups and governments, with each one followed by a transition of power to the civilian government of the president.
Under the military rulers, there were limited freedoms of speech and religion, limited opposition and a strong police state. After the restoration of civilian rule, which happened in Indonesia in 1997, the new constitution brought democracy and freedom of speech and religion to the people. There was then a period of stability and growth under the military rulers. Unfortunately, since 2021, there have been increasing crimes against the people, which have led to growing numbers of people demanding for greater freedoms. Many of the people want to see the return of the military dictatorship and for a return to the Suharto era, when the power was centralized and all citizens loyal to the military were jailed. This is only possible if the president can win the confidence of the people and win the support of the international community, which has so far been wary of Indonesia’s transition to democracy.
The current constitution was drafted by a team of experts, headed by former General and current Vice President Algrade. After the drafting process was completed, the text was passed by a referendum and now the constitution has been approved by a margin of more than 67% of the voters. This is an encouraging sign for the Indonesian people, who are going through a very difficult time in their transition period and want to go through a smooth process of transition that will guarantee them fundamental rights and justice. Even during the time of the transition, the constitution is expected to be refined and tested by the courts so as to ensure its constitutionality. It is up to the nation’s head of state to assure that the process goes smoothly and the constitution is implemented appropriately.