If you want to know about democracy in Indonesia, here are some facts. In the past, the country used indirect polls to elect regional executives. These methods are not more democratic, and the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries have used indirect polls for decades. Indonesia, however, has shifted back to direct elections. Its change was a response to concerns that indirect polls were not as representative of citizens’ preferences.
According to Freedom House, a nonprofit in Washington that tracks global democracy, Indonesia ranks as “partly free,” which means it’s less free than other countries. The report noted that Indonesia’s freedom score fell two points from the year before. Overall, democratic scores have declined in many countries worldwide, with Indonesia slipping from a 78 in 2006 to a 71 in 2016.
Sukarno was ousted after 22 years in office, during the transition to the “New Order” in the mid-1960s. His 22-year tenure was one of the most turbulent in modern Indonesian history, and his ouster was the first step toward a Suharto-like three-decade presidency. His balancing act and balancing of opposing forces helped him secure power and a position as head of state.
Several factors are responsible for the decline in Indonesia’s democracy. Indonesia’s political institutions have become fragmented, and there is a high level of support for strongman leadership, theocracy, and military dictatorship. This means that Indonesian democracy has not consolidated yet and may never do so. In fact, Indonesia’s democratic institutions are fragile and may never fully mature, as in other East Asian democracies.
The results of the elections in Indonesia have been a mixed bag. The election results in Jakarta in January 2016 showed a very close race. However, the results were not representative of the country as a whole. As a result, the KPU target of 70% was exceeded by a wide margin. Despite this, most Indonesians were more interested in good governance than in the outcome of the election. As a result, this election may serve as a barometer of the nation’s politics.
However, while Indonesian politics is becoming increasingly polarized, the president is not likely to change his position on regional elections. He has repeatedly blamed regional executives for holding back investments in infrastructure projects. And the minister of home affairs has joined the opposition to direct regional elections. It is therefore vital that the new president avoids this situation. For now, democracy in Indonesia remains an enigma. While it is unclear how much of an improvement Indonesian politics is seeing, it is a long-term solution to its political problems.
As a result, Indonesians have had the chance to elect their national leaders four times in the last 20 years. The elections were free of violence and irregularities, and they were fully compliant with the Indonesian Constitution. However, one exception in 2004 showed that there is still considerable support for civilian rule. 40,000 soldiers marched into the capital with guns pointed at the presidential palace, but they were not able to stop the parliament from voting to remove the president. The parliament, however, eventually voted to remove Wahid from office and replace him with Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri.