5 April 2004

The 2004 Indonesian Elections: How the System Works andWhat the Parties Stand For

The first and most obvious feature of the new electoral system created by the Members of the current DPR in the four political laws of 20032 is that the system is clearly designed to favour the existing major political parties. All candidates in the DPR election must be part of an eligible party ticket, with independent or individual candidates not being allowed. Parties must be registered with the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the KPU must be satisfied that the party conforms to a number of criteria set out in the legislation. To be eligible to contest the 2004 election a party must hold at least 2% of the seats in the current DPR. Only 6 parties were large enough to meet this criterion.

Parties that do not meet this criterion must convince the KPU that they have offices or a �full leadership� in at least two-thirds of Indonesia�s provinces and two-thirds of the districts[/regencies] (kabupaten) in those provinces. Eighteen parties have met these latter criteria, giving a total of 24 parties eligible to contest the election. Many of those parties are ones that were ruled ineligible on the first criteria (holding less than 2% of DPR seats) and have simply renamed themselves. For example, Partai Keadilan (Justice Party), whose 7 seats in the existing DPR was not enough to pass the threshold 2%, will compete as Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (Justice & Welfare Party).

Sherlock groups the Big 5 - PDIP, Golkar, PKB, PPP and PAN - according to 3 great aliran (currents) in Indonesian society, broadly secular nationalism - PDIP and Golkar, traditionalist Islam - PKB, modernist Islam - PPP and PAN. The Big 5 all have roughly similar platforms which bear little resemblance to their performance in power. The cabinet includes members of all the Big 5 (and several other parties as well) and there is not really a governing party in any familiar sense. In regional terms, PDIP dominates Java. Golkar is stronger in the outer islands. PKB does well in East Java. Non-Muslims tend to support PDIP or Golkar.

Incidentally the 1999 results took 2 months to count. This election is more complex because it includes voting for the DPR, DPD, provincial DPRDs and regency DPRDs. It will not take 2 months but it could take a while.

Sherlock's entire report is available (pdf).

No comments: