Democracy in Indonesia means ‘rule of law’, ‘freedom of speech and assembly’, ‘fair trial’,’equality before justice’, etc. ‘Democracy in Indonesia’ is a registered trademark of the Indonesian Embassy in the United States. The first task of the new government under Aceh was to re-establish trust and faith between the people and the institutions of government. This is evident from the continuing growth of the market, to the expansion of the economy, to the promotion of human rights, to the opening of an honest and transparent administration, to the opening of dialogue for change and improvement of living standards, to the formulation of policy on various social sectors, to the opening of negotiations for the return home of the citizens from abroad, to the elevation of the position of Governor to the Constitutional Court and other august posts. It is fair to say that the transition period after the takeover by an authoritarian regime in 1997 has been tumultuous.
But since Aceh was able to win back the support of the majority of the people, it should be given credit for its democratic nature. It has been able to restore balance in society through its inclusive and participative form of government. The Constituent Assembly process, whereby an advisory body of elected representatives of the people were allowed to sit as judges, gave way to direct democracy. The executive branch is answerable to the people through the Legislature, which ensures that laws are implemented accordingly by the governed masses. The role played by the legislature is to approve or reject bills passed by the governing bodies.
The functioning of the democracy in Indonesia is punctuated by periods of transition periods. During these transitional periods the country has experienced full political independence, with limited changes from the past system. On the other hand, major changes have been brought about by the military regime. The reality is that Indonesia has gone through a period of military rule and military governments, which have brought significant changes in terms of the society and politics. Today, a vibrant democracy exists.
A military junta led by General Widodo was elected by the Constituent Assembly. This resulted in the new constitution that was later published in Indonesia. This constitution declared that the people are the sole administrators of their affairs and government. In addition, it gave power to civilian control over the military and set up a board to manage commercial activities. A new system of regional equalization was also established to ensure that resources in the different regions are not unequal.
Today, Indonesian society enjoys a high level of freedom and is well protected by the constitution. Civil disobedience is not permitted and people are protected against religious intolerance, incitement, and violation of human rights. There is a vigorous protection of women’s rights and gender equality in the constitution.
democracy in Indonesia means representative self-government. Each citizen has the right to vote and has the right to participate in legislative decisions. All citizens have the right to press public issues on national debate platforms. Religious liberty guarantees citizens the right to practice their own religion according to their convictions.