7 October 2004

more on the Jakarta shakeout

The presidential election is finally declared. Yudhoyono now has to assert control of the parliament, the bureaucracy and the military. Beyond the arena of formal politics the election result is reverberating through the various hierarchies that constitute the Indonesian elite. To try and quickly summarise what's happening:

  • Yudhoyono ally, Hidayat Nur Wahid, leader of the Islam-based reformist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) won the speakership of the MPR by 2 votes over PDIP/Golkar candidate Sutjipto.
  • Megawati's predecessor as president, Abdulrahman Wahid is calling for the removal of Hasyim Muzadi as head of Nahdatul Ulama, the larger of the main Muslim organisations who ran as Megawati's vice-presidential candidate.
  • Amien Rias, head of Masjumi, the other main Muslim organisation, has left politics
  • a number of minor parties are changing their leaders
  • PDIP members demonstrated outside party headquarters demanding the resignation of Megawati's three closest advisers (inevitably known as the Gang of 3)
  • Jusuf Kallar, the incoming vice-president, has announced he will seek the leadership of Golkar at the December party congress

In short a lot of Indonesia's hierarchies are changing and shifting in response to Yudhoyono's election. This is a crucial process because Yudhoyono only controls 10% of the DPR seats. If JK can take over Golkar Yudhoyno will control a narrow majority. The election of Hidayat Nur Wahid is an unexpected victory, although Golkar will control the DPR speakership.

The Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat or people's consultative assembly (universally and understandably called the MPR) was once a fairly corrupt electoral college comprising MPs, presidential appointees and military delegates. It was restructured by the Third Amendment to the 1945 Constitution into a joint sitting of the two houses - the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or house of people's representatives (DPD) and the Dewan Perwakilan Daerah or house of regional representatives (DPD). While the MPR still has supreme legislative power and can remove the president on the initiative of the DPR, it is no longer an electoral college.

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