Anda di halaman 1dari 3


Being the country that contains the largest Muslim population in the world, Islamic
principles do play an important role in the nation's political decision making, but
Indonesia is not a Muslim or Islamic state.

Political decentralization in the post-Suharto era has brought more power to the regional
governments and this development implied that regional decision-making has become
more affected by the regional religious context. In strict Muslim areas, implemented
policies can include the regional banning of pork businesses or the obligation for women
to wear the headscarf, while in Christian regions (located mostly in eastern Indonesia)
such policies seem impossible to be implemented.

However, given the nation's clear Muslim majority and the dominance of (Muslim) Java
in national politics, Indonesia - as a whole - is far more Islam oriented. To have a
president that is non-Muslim, therefore, seems impossible. On the other hand,
Indonesian Islam can generally be labelled 'moderate' as the majority of Indonesian
Muslims consist of nominal Muslims. For example, the majority of the Indonesian
Muslim community will not agree with the implementation of Islamic law (Sharia).
Another example is that when Megawati Soekarnoputri became the first female
Indonesian president in 2001, only a small minority rejected her based on certain
Islamic doctrine that women cannot take leading positions.

The Indonesian political system consists of three branches:

Executive branch of Indonesia

The executive branch consists of the president, the vice president and the cabinet. Both
the president and vice president are chosen by the Indonesian electorate through
presidential elections. They serve for a term of five years that can be extended once by
another term of five years when re-elected by the people. During these elections the
president and vice president run as a fixed, inseparable pair, which implies that the
composition of this pair is of great political strategic importance. Important matters that
are of influence include ethnic (and religious) background and (previous) social position
in Indonesian society.

In terms of ethnicity and religion, a Javanese Muslim will enjoy more popular support as
the majority of the Indonesian people consist of Javanese Muslims. In lower political
positions (and depending on the regional religious context) political leaders that are
non-Muslim are possible (for example, the current Governor of Jakarta is Chinese-
Christian Basuki Cahaya Purnama).
With regard to (previous) social position in society there are a few categories that all
enjoy popular support from part of the people. These categories include (retired) army
generals, businessmen, technocrats and leading Muslim scholars. Therefore, to
optimize chances of winning the election the president and vice president usually come
from different social categories in order to grasp a larger share of the popular vote. For
example, former president Yudhoyono (himself a retired army general and a Muslim)
chose Boediono (a Javanese Muslim technocrat) as vice president in his presidential
campaign of 2009. As Boediono is an experienced economist, it raised people's trust in
the pair. Despite Indonesia's authoritarian past under Suharto, army generals who run
for president can still count on much popular support in present Indonesia as they are
considered being strong leaders.

Meanwhile, current president Joko Widodo (a Javanese Muslim and former

businessman) chose to pair with Jusuf Kalla (a businessman, politician and Muslim from
Sulawesi). Kalla has a long history in Indonesian politics (particularly in the Golkar party,
Suharto's old political vehicle) and enjoys widespread popularity in Indonesia (especially
outside the island of Java). Widodo was basically a newcomer to national politics at the
start of 2014 but Kalla's long-standing experience in politics gave the pair more political

After election, the new president appoints a cabinet that usually consists of members
from his own party, the coalition partners and non-partisan technocrats. To see
Indonesia's current cabinet composition, gohere.

Legislative branch of Indonesia

Indonesia's legislative branch is the Peoples Consultative Assembly (Majelis

Permusyawaratan Rakyat, abbreviated MPR). It has the power to set or change the
Constitution and appoints (or impeaches) the president. The MPR is a bicameral
parliament that consists of the Peoples Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan
Rakyat, abbreviated DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (Dewan
Perwakilan Daerah, abbreviated DPD).

The DPR, consisting of 560 members, draws up and passes laws, produces the annual
budget in cooperation with the president and oversees the general performance of
political affairs. It is elected for a five-year term through proportional representation
based on general elections. Remarkably, this DPR is notorious due to the frequent
occurrences of corruption scandals among its members.

The DPD deals with bills, laws and matters that are related to the regions, thus
increasing regional representation at the national level. Every Indonesian province
elects four members to the DPD (who serve for a five-year term) on non-partisan basis.
As Indonesia contains 33 provinces, the DPD consists of a total of 132 members.

Judicial branch of Indonesia

The highest court in Indonesia's judiciary system is the independent Supreme Court
(Mahkamah Agung). It is the final court of appeal and also deals with disputes between
lower courts. A relatively new court, established in 2003, is the Constitutional Court
(Mahkamah Konstitusi), which monitors whether decisions made by the cabinet and
parliament (MPR) are in line with the Indonesian Constitution. However, most of the
legal cases in Indonesia are handled by the public courts, administrative courts,
religious courts and military courts.

A Judicial Commission (Komisi Yudisial) oversees the maintenance of honour, dignity

and behaviour of Indonesian judges. There are frequent reports claiming that
Indonesia's judiciary institutions are not free from corruption and are not fully
independent from the other political branches.