Chapter 2 Indonesia
The Indonesian archipelago comprises over 17 000 islands, covering
a land area of 1 905 000 square kilometres. Indonesia has the fourth
largest population in the world, with a 2010 census figure of 237.6 million
people. The majority of Indonesians identify as Muslim, with smaller
communities of Christians, Hindus and non-specified groups.
Indonesia is the largest economy in South East Asia. Despite the recent
global financial crisis the Indonesian economy has continued to grow. The
International Monetary Fund forecast Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product for
2011 as US$ 834.3 billion. Indonesia’s largest trading partners are China,
Japan and the United States. The Indonesian Government has a Master Plan for
the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development 2011-2025,
with a goal of becoming one of the top ten global economies by 2025. Economic
growth has enabled millions of Indonesians to rise from poverty. However,
Indonesia faces some significant challenges, for example, 49 per cent of
Indonesians are living on less than US$2 a day.
The Republic of Indonesia gained independence in 1945. In 1998, after
decades of authoritarian rule, Indonesia began its transition to democracy, spurred
by the economic crisis of 1997-1998. The democratisation process involved
amending the Constitution, with changes including:
n the direct election
of the President and Vice-President;
n stronger checks and
n restraining the
executive’s power and increasing the parliament’s power;
n establishing two
houses of parliament; and
n a commitment of 20
per cent of the budget to education.
More than a decade since moving to democracy, Indonesia has made
significant progress. However, it is a relatively young democracy, and still
faces political, economic and social development challenges. Economic growth
and addressing corruption, legal system weaknesses and financial accountability
are some of the country’s key priorities.
Political changes in Indonesia have included a process of
decentralisation, which has involved transferring certain powers of public
expenditure and service delivery from the central government to over 450
provincial and local governments.
Indonesia is a unitary state. The President and Vice President are directly
elected for a five year term, and govern with the assistance of an appointed
Cabinet. There is a bicameral parliamentary system in Indonesia. The People’s
Consultative Assembly (MPR) is the primary representative body, which is
comprised of two houses: the 560-member House of Representatives (DPR) and the
132-member Regional Representative Council (DPD). Members are elected for five
years by proportional representation. The DPR is a legislative and monitoring
body of the executive arm, while the DPD has oversight of region matters, with
members representing Indonesian provinces.
As the world’s third largest democracy, after India and the United
States, Indonesian elections are conducted on a huge scale. Voting is not
compulsory in Indonesia. Elections are held every five years. In its move to
democracy, three national elections have been held in Indonesia (1999, 2004 and
2009). The next national election will be in 2014.
Significant changes to electoral law were made in 2007 and 2008, which affected
electoral processes for the 2009 national election. Reviews of Indonesia’s
electoral law have occurred since and led to legislative changes earlier this
year. However, as these changes represent a compromise on certain issues, some
feel that the changes are not significant reforms.
The 2012 amendments to the General Elections Law include:
n increasing the
parliamentary threshold from 2.5 to 3.5 per cent for the upcoming 2014 general
n adopting the
open-list electoral system, under which electors can vote for specific
candidates rather than parties; and
n the allocation of
parliamentary seats for each region.
In the last national election in 2009, there were 171 265 442
voters, with 519 920 polling stations manned by 4 679 280 staff.
The election was complicated by changes to the procedures for voting and the
determination of successful candidates.
Elections are held to directly elect representatives for the various
levels of government. There are a large number of elections held in Indonesia.
For example, in 2010 there were more than 240 local elections conducted. As
well as being important to the administration of a given area, local elections
are significant as they can be a litmus test for the national election.
The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) stated:
...problems evident in the 2009 national elections have not
been resolved, and may be worsening. Violence was associate with approximately
10% of elections, 80% of results were disputed in the Constitutional Court, and
parliamentary revisions to essential electoral legislation have been delayed.
Electoral managers in Indonesia must address a number of issues,
including the cost of elections and geographic and logistical challenges. Also,
while voter turnout has been exceptionally high, it is now dropping. It was
suggested to the delegation that this could be an indication of voter fatigue
due to the high number of elections in the country.
The delegation heard that Indonesians at all levels of society engage in
public debates on issues during the election period.
The General Election Commission, Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU), is
made up of seven commissioners who serve for a five year period. The current
commission period will end in 2012.
In August 2010 the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) contracted
the Polling Center of Jakarta to conduct a nationwide public opinion survey on
elections. There were 2 500 people surveyed across the 33 provinces. The
goal was for responses to be representative of eligible electors across
Indonesia. Key findings included:
n 59 per cent of
respondents believed the country was ‘going in the right direction’;
identified inflation and unemployment as the biggest problems facing
n 78 per cent of respondents
viewed voting as a way to influence decision making in Indonesia (this figure comprised
of 74 per cent ‘somewhat agree’ and 4 per cent ‘strongly agree’);
n 65 per cent of
respondents believed that the results issued by the Indonesian electoral
commission reflected the actual vote, with 9 per cent disagreeing, and 26 per
cent responding they did not know;
n When asked what it
means to live in a democracy, 38 per cent of responses referred to freedom, but
41 per cent did not give an answer;
n 64 per cent of
respondents indicated they had received a visit at their home in the past to
check the registration status of their families. Visiting homes for
registration purposes is not a requirement in Indonesia, as the onus is on the
elector to verify their registration status;
n 41 per cent of
respondents indicated that they had checked to see if their name was on the
n 78 per cent of
respondents indicated they had received little or no information in relation to
the local elections that took place that year; and
n 77 per cent of
respondents were not concerned about violence at the local elections.
Concerns were raised about inaccuracies in the voter list used for the
2009 national election. It was estimated that a high number of voters were
omitted (possibly over 20 per cent). There were also textual errors, voters
allocated to the wrong area, and cases of multiple registration.
These problems were attributed to the legislative requirement that the
KPU develop the 2009 voter list from population data provided by the Ministry
of Home Affairs (MoHA), rather than using the 2004 list as the basis. It was
suggested to the delegation that the quality and format of the data was not
conducive to forming the basis of an accurate voter list.
The delegation heard that the Government’s eKTP initiative should
improve the quality of the population data and serve as the basis for future
voter lists. The KPU has also launched an initiative to develop and implement a
new country-wide voter registration system. The KPU aimed to introduce a
comprehensive plan in March 2012. A Steering Committee on Voter Registration
was established, comprised of KPU Commissioners, KPU Secretariat, KPU
Provinces, MoHA, the Research Center for Biotechnology, civil society and academia.
The steering committee engaged to meet fortnightly to oversee the design of the
new voter registration system.
There is also a Voter Registration Expert Group, with a membership of
six Indonesian experts, dedicated to the research, analysis and design of the
new voting registration system. IFES is facilitating the work of this group by:
providing administrative and logistical support on the initiative; coordinating
legal review and advocacy efforts; providing expertise on comparative voting
registration systems; and providing electoral administration advice.
Australia and Indonesia
Indonesia is one of Australia’s closest neighbours, and the countries are
linked in a number of ways. There are high level exchanges between governments,
parliaments and prominent leaders in these two countries. Australia and
Indonesia have a productive working relationship on political, governance,
security, commercial, environmental and cultural issues. They cooperate on a
number of international and regional issues, including counter-terrorism,
people smuggling, climate change and interfaith dialogue.
Australia has strong bilateral ties with Indonesia, these are expressed
through a variety of programs and agreements, which include:
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement;
n Agreement between the
Republic of Indonesia and Australia on the Framework for Security Cooperation,
initiated in 2006;
n Joint Declaration on
Comprehensive Partnership between Australia and the Republic of Indonesia,
initiated in 2005;
Australia-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework, initiated in 2005; and
Ministerial Forum, leading to outcomes such as the Joint Statement on People
Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons.
Australia and Indonesia have a two-way trade and investment
relationship. In 2010-2011 Australia imported AUD$5 755 million in goods
from Indonesia (primarily petroleum, gold and wood), and exported
AUD$4 780 million in goods to Indonesia (primarily wheat, petroleum,
livestock and aluminium).
Indonesia receives the largest proportion of Australia’s overseas aid.
It is estimated that Australia’s Overseas Development Assistance to Indonesia for
2011-2012 will be AUD$558 million. Development programs
operate within the Australia Indonesia Partnership agreement.
Development priorities for Indonesia include: education and
scholarships; health; economic growth; climate change and environmental
sustainability; civil society, justice and democracy; economic and public
sector reform; and humanitarian assistance.
As part of its governance programs in the Asia Pacific region, Australia
provides electoral specific support to Indonesia, including supporting the last
three national elections in 1999, 2004 and 2009. The Australian Electoral
Commission (AEC), DFAT and AusAID cooperate in the provision of electoral
assistance in Indonesia. This assistance is aimed at strengthening electoral
bodies and increasing elector participation through education.
Australia provided Indonesia with AUD$14.3 million assistance in the
lead up to the 1999 national election. The electoral assistance package
included voter education and support for election monitoring by non-government
organisations. There were 25 Australian observers involved in monitoring the
In 2003-2004 AusAID provided AUD$15 million in electoral assistance to
Indonesia. This support included voter education, commission staff training,
AEC capacity building with the Indonesian electoral commission, and sending
election observer teams.
A number of problems emerged in relation to the 2009 national election,
including: inaccuracies in the voter list, leading to millions of voters being
disenfranchised; errors in vote calculations; and a high level of invalid
votes. Following the election, Australia committed to assist Indonesian
electoral managers to address these issues.
There is an Australia Indonesia Partnership for Electoral Support. AusAID
works in partnership with civil society organisations, the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) and the AEC to provide electoral support programs.
AusAID reported the following achievements in electoral support to Indonesia in
n Support for the
Electoral Resources Information Centre that laid the groundwork for the
Electoral Commission to make election information (such as election results)
publicly available and meet responsibilities under the 2008 Freedom of
Information Law for the first time.
n Training the local
electoral commissions in five provinces that improved their ability to manage
the voters list, confirmed the right to vote for 38 million people, and
increased public confidence in the voter registry.
n The first
standardised manual for polling officials working on sub-national elections
across the country to ensure that all polling officials are able to
consistently manage local elections.
n Production of evidence-based
research on election financing, women’s candidacy and elections monitoring to
inform amendments to the elections management law and local elections law.
These have been favourably received by the Ministry of Home Affairs and
n Elections financing
research that was the first of its kind. It will assist increased transparency
in elections budgeting, advise decision-makers of potential cost savings in the
conduct of elections, and inform electoral legislation revisions.
AusAID is working with KPU to address some of the issues evident in the
2009 election prior to the next national election in 2014.
AusAID’s longer-term Australia Indonesia Electoral Support Program commenced
in 2011, and aims to improve the conduct of elections in Indonesia by
developing manuals, providing training to election officials, and assisting
with the preparations of a national voter registration system in preparation
for the 2014 election.
The AEC is one of the five partners in the Building Resources in
Democracy, Governance and Elections (BRIDGE) program. The BRIDGE program
partners are the AEC, International IDEA, IFES, UNDP and the United Nations
Electoral Assistance Division. The program aims are to: promote internationally
accepted principles of democracy and good electoral practice; enhance
confidence in electoral processes; electoral capacity building; and develop a
support network for stakeholders to encourage a culture of sharing information
and best practice electoral processes. The courses include providing training
for polling staff.
BRIDGE programs are conducted throughout the world. A BRIDGE course has
been customised for Indonesia. The delegation received feedback that the BRIDGE
programs had been very beneficial for Indonesia. There is an emphasis on enabling
those who receive training to transfer their skills to others.
Since 2009 the AEC has maintained a permanent presence in Indonesia,
with an officer assisting with electoral affairs and maintaining relationships
with Indonesian electoral officials on an ongoing basis. The delegation
received a tour of the AEC’s Jakarta office and met the local staff.
Recent AEC electoral assistance has included helping KPU to develop and
edit a manual for polling station staff at local government elections, which are
in the local language. The delegation was provided with copies translated into
English. The manual included a detailed outline of the election process and
polling staff responsibilities. Appendix B depicts staff roles at polling
Figure 2.1 Delegation visit to the AEC office in Jakarta
Yogyakarta mayoral election
On Sunday, 25 September 2011 the delegation had the opportunity to
observe a local government election held in Yogyakarta to select the Mayor and Vice
Mayor of Yogyakarta City. Mayors serve for five year terms. The candidate teams
are depicted in Figure 2.2. The election was conducted by the KPU Yogyakarta
Figure 2.2 Candidates for the Yogyakarta City Head and
Vice Head of Local Government
Muhammad Zuhrif Hudaya & Drs. Aulia
Reza Bastian, M.Hum.
Supported by Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)
Ahmad Hanafi Rais, SIP., MPP. & Ir.
Tri Harjun Ismaji, M.Sc.
Supported by National Mandate Party and the
United Development Party (PPP) and a number of other parties
Drs. H. Haryadi Suyuti & Imam
Priyono D. Putranto, SE., M.Si.
Supported by GOLKAR and the Indonesian
Democratic Party of Struggle
Of the 322 840 eligible electors, 200 753 (approximately 62 per cent)
voted at the Yogyakarta mayoral election. The KPU had 839 polling stations for
the election, including one at the prison.
While the count for these local elections take place at the polling
place after polling closes, the ballots are sent to sub district officers for
rechecking. All ballot boxes and documentation then go to the city before the
winner is determined.
The Haryardi Suyuti-Imam Prioyono pairing received 97 074 votes
(48.3 per cent), the Hanafi Rais–Tri Harjun Ismaji pairing 84 122
votes (41.9 per cent), and the Zuhrif Hudaya–Aulia Reza Bastian pairing
19 557 votes (9.7 per cent).
KPU regulations provide that the successful candidate will receive more
than 50 per cent of the vote, or if no candidate receives more than 50 per
cent, then a candidate with more than 30 per cent will be declared the winner.
However, if two candidates each receive more than 30 per cent of all votes then
the winner will be determined by examining the total votes by sub district. The
candidates who secures the greater number of sub districts will be the winner.
If no candidates gains more than 30 per cent of all votes, then there will be a
second round election. In some Indonesian local elections there is a run-off
election even if more than 30 per cent of the vote is secured.
In Yogyakarta the sub district approach is applied. As two of the
candidate pairings (Haryardi Suyuti-Imam Prioyono and Hanafi Rais–Tri Harjun
Ismaji) secured more than 30 per cent of the vote, the KPU examined the sub
district results. The final result was determined on 4 October 2011. Dr Haryard
Suyuti and Dr Imam Prioyono were the successful candidates, and will hold
the positions of Mayor and Vice Mayor of Yogyakarta until 2016.
The AEC in Jakarta advised that the ten day delay between the election
on 25 September and the formal announcement of results on 4 October
was normal for local elections.
Electors receive ‘invitation letters’ five days prior to the election
day. Eligible people can attend a polling booth and vote without a letter, if
they satisfy certain identification requirements. However, it is easier to
present their letter and vote. The ballot paper contains a picture of all the
candidates, on which the elector will indicate their preferred candidate
pairing. Once an elector has voted, one of their fingers is marked with ink
(see Figure 2.4). This serves as a means of combating multiple voting.
The delegation heard about Indonesia’s national identification number
program, under which all Indonesians will be issued with a unique number. This
can be used for identification purposes when voting. It is anticipated that by
the end of 2012 every Indonesian will have a national identity number.
The delegation was accompanied by KPU, AEC, DFAT and AusAID
representatives during its visit to a number of different polling stations in
Figure 2.3 Delegation visiting a polling booth in
Figure 2.4 Elector displaying finger ink after voting in
Figure 2.5 Ballot count for the Yogyakarta election
A recurring theme in discussions during the visit was that while
Indonesians can be proud of what they have already achieved, there is still
work to be done to consolidate and grow their democracy. Discussions reflected
an appreciation that while democracy is a shared destination, countries
sometimes take different roads. Indonesia realises that it is important to
learn from the experiences of other countries, but also develop its own unique
form of democracy.
Australia and Indonesia place importance on improving participation in
the electoral process. A proportion of the electoral work in Indonesia is focused
on educating the population about the electoral process. Democracy becomes a viable
option over civil unrest or violence when people have confidence in the
independence and transparency of electoral processes and can see the Parliament
having an effective role in change.
The holding of free and fair elections is essential to a successful
democracy. Australia’s electoral assistance to Indonesia is important. The
delegation was impressed with the work that DFAT, AusAID and the AEC has been
doing in Indonesia to build the capacity of Indonesia’s electoral management
bodies. The permanent AEC presence in Indonesia since 2009 is illustrative of
the strong relationship between the two countries, and the shared commitment to
enhancing electoral processes.
The delegation greatly appreciated the range of meetings arranged for
its visit, from high level Indonesian leaders and officials, to personnel
working on the day to day conduct of elections. Delegates benefited from being
able to observe the Yogyakarta mayoral election, and learn about Indonesians’
experiences of voting, the democratic transition, and their aspirations for