Indonesia’s national elections are fast
Indonesia's parliamentary (legislative) and presidential (executive) elections
will soon take place.
Legislative Elections on
April 9, 2014
First Round Presidential
Elections on July 9, 2014
The legislative elections will select parliamentary members.
The executive elections will select the next president and vice president.
The presidential election in July will coincide with the Muslim fasting month of
Ramadan, but this is unlikely to impact election schedules, as the second
round of the last 2009 presidential election also took place during Ramadan.
*Due to Indonesia’s absolute majority vote system, the first round vote can be followed by a second round vote – with the two highest
votes from the first round moving to a second round run-off election – if none of the candidates achieve an absolute majority.
How voting works…
• The Indonesian General Election
Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum or
KPU), supervises and is responsible for
carrying out elections across Indonesia.
• The 2014 presidential elections will be
carried out in accordance with Law No. 28
of 2008 on the Elections of President and
• The country is working towards e-voting in
the hope of implementing the new system
in time for the general elections.
• The basis of the e-voting system is
electronic identity cards (e-KTP) which
have been prepared since 2012 nationally,
and have been trialed in six districts/cities,
namely Padang (West
Sumatera), Denpasar (Bali), Jembrana
(Bali), Yogyakarta (Central Java), Cilegon
(West Java), and Makassar (South
Who can run for President?
• The Indonesian political system
allows any eligible individuals to
run for president and vice
• However, support from major
political parties is crucial in
determining their electability (a
minimum threshold must be met in
the legislative elections).
Who can run for President?
In reality, only candidates endorsed by
major parties have a chance of
competing, but parties will want to
back popular candidates who can
carry through the popular vote.
Being a popular party is not enough.
Indonesia’s presidential elections are
still popularity contests. Personality
really does matter. This is why a popular
candidate backed by a number of
smaller parties could still beat a less
popular candidate backed by one of
the major political parties – as long as
the threshold is met, anything can
Short-term political trends can decide
elections. For example, current
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
was not seriously considered as a
serious presidential candidate until a
few months before the election season
commenced and his personal
In recent years, the number of political parties contesting major
elections has varied considerably.
In 2004, 24 parties contested the national elections and 16 secured
enough seats to be represented in the national parliament.
Meanwhile, there was a significant increase of candidates in 2009.
However, due to the regulation on the electoral threshold, since 2009
the number of parties eligible as contestants in the election has
reduced. Of 38 parties participated in the national elections, only 9
were able to secure seats in the national parliament.
Since 1999, the number of political parties that are eligible to contest
the general elections fell from 48 to 12 in 2014 – an increasing
consolidation of power among a few major parties.
Political parties competing in 2014…
• This year, 12 parties will compete in the national elections and
three more have been authorized to run candidates in Aceh
• It is expected that the presidential
candidates who hope to mount an
effective campaign will need to secure
the support of at least one of the major
parties as well as several other smaller
*The Aceh local parties’ participation is based on the Helsinki MoU between the Indonesian Government and Free Aceh Movement (GAM)
to end conflict in the province.
Which political parties are eligible to
To compete in the 2014 national elections, parties are required by
the KPU (General Election Commission) to have:
a regional chapter in every province in the country.
a chapter in at least 75 percent of each province’s regencies
a chapter in at least half of each regency’s or municipality’s
at least 1,000 official members
Indonesia’s national parties
Indonesia has 12 national parties. These parties are increasingly being consolidated into a
smaller and smaller number of major national parties.
For example, although there are a number of national parties only the PDIP, the Democratic
Party and Golkar have large numbers of seats in parliament. Often even large parties have to
go into coalition partnerships with smaller parties to field Presidential tickets in order to be
eligible for the parliamentary seat eligibility threshold.
Democrat National Party (NasDem)
Party of the Functional Groups (Golkar)
National Awakening Party (PKB)
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP)
Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra)
National Mandate Party (PAN)
United Development Party (PPP)
Peoples Conscience Party (Hanura)
Crescent Star Party (PBB)
Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI)
Meanwhile, the three Aceh parties consist of Aceh Peace Party (PDA), Aceh National Party
(PNA), and Aceh Party (PA)
• Speculation continues as to who will be Indonesia’s eventual Presidential candidate. There are a number of highprofile candidates, some officially declared and some not.
• The front row contenders are Joko Widodo, known more commonly as ‘Jokowi’ from the PDIP and Prabowo
Subianto from Gerindra. For Jokowi to be able to run, he will first need the backing of PDIP party leader
Megawati Sukarnoputri (herself a past president and potential candidate for 2014). This is the ‘will he wont he’
soap opera that continues to transfix the Indonesian media.
• So far, other strong contenders include Dahlan Iskan*, Gita Wirjawan*, Hayono Isman, Jusuf Kalla, Megawati
Sukarnoputri, Pramono Edhie Wibowo*, Wiranto and Aburizal Bakrie. But anything could happen….
* Members of the party of Indonesia's incumbent President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (who is term barred), the Democratic Party is languishing in
the polls. These candidates are currently competing in the party’s convention to choose who will be the Democratic Party presidential candidate.
The parliamentary structure
For the 2014 legislative elections, the total numbers of seats contested are
20,389 with the following breakdown:
People's Representative Council
Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR)
Regional Representative Council
Dewan Perwakilan Daerah (DPRD)
Regional House of Representatives Level I
Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah I (DPRD I)
Regional House of Representative Level II
Dewan Perwakilian Rakyat Daerah II (DPRD II)
The above figures include seats in the national, provincial, and district legislative assemblies. Indonesia’s newest
province, North Kalimantan, will not be represented in any of these assemblies until 2019.
* Indonesia’s parliament is technically the two constituent houses sitting in joint session.
The national level:
The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR)
The national level parliament, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), is bicameral.
It consists of two houses:
the Lower House: the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat) with 560
the Upper House: the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah)
with 132 seats
The national level:
The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR)
MPR is one of the highest state
institutions in the Indonesian
Members of the MPR consist of DPR
and DPD members who have been
elected through general elections.
Currently, the MPR is not part of the
legislation process except for
constitutional amendments. Before
the amendment of the 1945
Constitution, the MPR was acting
as the Supreme Council of State.
Today, the MPR’s position is equal
to other higher institutions such as
the Presidency, DPR, DPD, Supreme
Audit Agency (BPK), Supreme
Court (MA), and Constitutional
The MPR has the authority to amend
and enact the Constitution,
inaugurate the President and/or
Vice President and may only dismiss
the President and/or Vice-President
during his/her term of office in
accordance with the Constitution.
Based on 1945 Constitutional
The MPR shall convene in session at
least once every five years in the
capital of the state. This is when the
two houses sit jointly together, the
MPR is in session.
The provincial level:
Provincial Legislative Assemblies
At the provincial level, 33 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces have
their own Provincial Legislative Assemblies (Dewan
Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah-I).
The add up to a combined total of 2,137 seats.
Each province is subdivided into regencies or
municipalities - 508 in all - though only 497 of these have
their own District Legislative Assemblies (Dewan
Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah-II). A combined total of 16,895
seats are up for grabs at the district level.
*Jakarta’s six districts and North Kalimantan’s five districts will not elect District Legislative Assemblies in 2014.
The national parliamentary election
• The campaign
period for the 2014
will start from
January 11 to April 5
• These are some of
the most recent polls
All tables reproduced with permission from Reformasi Weekly; see
The national parliamentary election
Indonesia has a number of rules in regards
to national election campaigning:
Outdoor rallies, banners, large
meetings, and campaign
advertisements in mass media will only
be allowed from March 16 to April 5.
Between January 11 and March 16,
meetings can have a maximum of
1,000 attendees for lower house
campaigns and 250 attendees for
district or city campaigns; election
authorities must be given prior
notification of the meetings.
Campaigning will cease four days prior
to the election. Then, from April 6–8,
there will be a “cooling-down period”.
The national parliamentary election campaign:
The allocation of DPR seats
• How seats are allocated
The House of Representatives is
divided into electoral districts (a
province, a district, and a
combination of districts), and
each electoral district has
between three and ten seats.
• The voting process
On voting day, voters receive a
House of Representatives ballot
containing a list of each party’s
candidates who are running for a
seat in their electoral district.
Voters select their preferred
candidate from the list. Each
vote counts for both the party
and the candidate.
The national parliamentary election campaign:
The KPU (General Election Commission)
KPU then calculates what is
known as the “quota” for
each electoral district.
The quota is defined as the
total number of valid votes
obtained by political parties
that meet the national
threshold for parliamentary
representation (3.5 percent of
the national vote) divided by
the total number of seats in
that electoral district.
A two-round allocation
system is then used to
determine the winning
THE TWO-ROUND ALLOCATION SYSTEM
In the first allocation round, parties receive a seat for each quota they meet, and the
votes used to reach these quotas are then deducted from the relevant party’s total.
Each party that receives seats is required to allocate them to whichever of its
candidates received the most votes. Some parties may not meet the quota, and every
party will have votes remaining.
In the second allocation round, the parties are first listed in decreasing order of their
remaining votes. The unallocated seats are then distributed one by one according to
this sequence until all seats are filled. In the unlikely event that two parties have the
same number of votes remaining when entering this round, the seat goes to the party
with the wider geographic distribution in the electoral district (note that it is impossible
for a party to receive more than one additional seat in this second round).
THE OPEN LIST SYSTEM
The open-list system was introduced in 2009 and is designed to do two things:
give smaller parties a fair shot at obtaining a parliamentary seat and force
candidates from the same party to compete against each other for votes.
Before 2009, Indonesia used closed-list proportional representation in which
votes were cast only for a preferred party. Seats were then allocated to parties
in proportion to the votes cast, and the party (not the voters) would choose
which of its members would represent the constituency
The local parliamentary election campaign:
Provincial and District Legislative Assemblies
The Provincial and District Legislative
Assemblies have a similar seat allocation
system, but a 2012 decision by the
Indonesian Constitutional Court ruled that
a political party does not need to meet
the 3.5 percent national threshold to win a
seat in these assemblies.
Thus the quota for electoral districts at the
provincial and district levels consists of the
total valid votes cast in the district divided
by the total number of seats in the district.
Electoral districts for the provincial and
district assemblies are made up of
regencies/municipalities and sub districts,
respectively, and have between three
and twelve seats.
The local parliamentary election campaign:
Regional Representative Councils
The Regional Representative Councils
use a simpler voting system.
• Voters in each province choose one
candidate on the provincial ballot,
and the four candidates who win
the most votes in each province
then become representatives in the
upper house at the national level.
• Although most candidates for these
posts are affiliated with parties,
their party affiliations are
irrelevant because they serve on the
assembly in a personal capacity
and not as party functionaries.
Presidential nomination requirements
• According to the 2008 election law, only parties or coalitions
controlling 20% of DPR seats or winning 25% of the popular
votes in the 2014 parliamentary elections will be eligible to
nominate a candidate.
• This law is unlikely to be amended before the 2014 elections.
Presidential nomination requirements
In the presidential election, Indonesians vote for a ticket that includes a president and vice
president. The pair that receives more than 50 percent of the vote nationwide and more than
20 percent of the vote in over half the provinces wins.
If no clear winner emerges in the first round, the two front-runners (that is, the two tickets that
received the highest percentage of the national vote in the first round) compete in a run-off
election, which will be held in September 2014 if it is required. Of the three general elections
after the reform era, only one in 2009 required a second round. For this year’s election, the
government has not yet decided upon the timing for the second round.
Who can run?
• Another issue with presidential nominations
is that they do not necessarily have to be
MPR members to run for office.
• Presidential candidates can be nominated
from all walks of life, from ex-generals, to
academics, technocrats to dangdut
• Most of all, successful candidates need to
be able to lead coalitions and unite
different factions. As has been discussed,
to run for president a nominee usually has
to be nominated by two or more parties to
reach the required DPR seat threshold.
After the election:
The appointing of Ministers and the Cabinet
The appointment of ministers is the president’s prerogative right. The
president will determine and appoint ministers who will form the
government and run the country.
The overall total of ministries is set at 34. There is no specific
requirement for ministerial appointments and they do not, for
instance, require approval by the DPR.
Some appointments are usually from outside government and
political parties, for example technocrats or industry leaders.
candidates and their chances
The candidates: old establishment
Billionaire and chairman
of Golkar political party
former President and
head of the PDI-P political
Head of the Gerinda
party. Controversial ‘tough
Golkar is a long-standing political party, once the political wing of the Suharto military
dictatorship. Of all of the Indonesian parties, it has the strongest and most wellorganized local and regional political base. Golkar is a member of the loose ruling
coalition. It is likely Golkar will emerge from the legislative elections as the largest
party; conceivably large enough to control the House without forming a coalition.
Golkar will be certain to field a presidential candidate and Bakrie is already confirmed
as its choice. The Bakrie family has a colorful reputation in business circles. The
challenge is for Bakrie the statesman to be perceived differently from Bakrie the
In a presidential poll without Jokowi,
Bakrie has a chance, thanks to Golkar's
formidable electoral machine, of winning.
But his low opinion polling puts him in 3
place behind Jokowi and Prabowo
Subianto. There were signs that the party
was unhappy at the level of funding he was
providing the party leading to a media
squall he should be replaced (which calls
seems now to have dissipated)
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is the party of the rural poor;
after Golkar it has a large and solid base. Megawati is the daughter of Indonesia's
founder, Sukarno, and (like the Ghandi dynasty in India) this gives more influence to
Megawati than her disappointing and underachieving one term as President (20012004) suggests she deserves. As first Vice President of the democratic era, she
assumed the top office when President 'Gus Dur' was deposed in July 2001
(essentially at the behest of Indonesia's current president, then security minister).
Surrounded by a dense group of flattering acolytes that have prospered under
Indonesia’s favour-based politics, she may choose to run a third term. There are few
signs that she connects with Indonesia’s young voters
The former special forces general who has been alleged to have ordered human
rights abuses in the dying days of the Suharto military dictatorship that ended in 1998
(he also has a controversial reputation from his time commanding special forces in
occupied East Timor after Indonesia's invasion and suppression of the East
Timorese: currently on US visa ‘black list’ and that of some EU countries). Although
superficially a nationalist party, observers say he is the most 'can do' candidate to
speed up reform and will - if elected - do much to open Indonesia to foreign
investment and reduce the power of the oligarchs (who have a love/hate relationship
with him). Irrational when angry / formidable temper. Media barons fear he will
reintroduce press censorship
Still beloved by her close supporters, but
very few others, Megawati may have
passed her political prime. Some of her
biggest fans hope she will not stand “and
lose” again for the 3rd straight time. Logic
suggests she be 'Kingmaker' for Jokowi
but Megawati has an indefatigable
sense of her own destiny. Some talk of
Bakrie suggesting a PDI-P/Golkar tie-up
with him as VP, which might have legs
Gerinda may struggle to pass the DPR
threshold to field a presidential candidate
without buddying-up with another
candidate. But in a race without Jokowi
he could be the candidate to beat. The
Indonesian media (and their owners) fear
him and allege he will suppress free
speech (Indonesia, remember, currently
has the freest press in Asia). Equally
looks a winner if young voters don’t
The candidates: political rock stars?
Governor of Jakarta
and member of the
A political rock star whose surprise win in the Jakarta gubernatorial elections in 2012
set off a political tsunami in Indonesia; underlining the dissatisfaction with the
current ruling political elite. Known as 'Jokowi' and a man of the people he is,
arguably, as yet untested in complex government but, given how many of the
electorate in 2014 are under 30, and given by then he'll have over 2 years of
gubernatorial experience, this is unlikely to stop him should he stand. As polls for
the April 9 DPR elections stand, PDI-P should be able to field its own candidate. If it
can't - and must buddy-up - we say it is very unlikely that Jokowi would accept being
anyone's VP (not even party-leader Megawati's), preferring to keep his powder dry
for 2019. Every other smaller party will want to be his VP candidate. In recent weeks
however there are signs that Megawati believes she is still the woman to lead
Indonesia (thwarting Jokowi) but this could be a bluff until the last moment
All polls to date suggest he is unbeatable as a
candidate for Presidency but Jokowi has been
gnomic and (we say) he will only stand if the head
of the PDI-P, Megawati, steps aside and asks him
to. This will require a humility on the part of
Megawati that will not come easy to her. That said,
only the election poll will count and in the fierce
heat of campaigning Jokowi might be outclassed
by Prabowo as a candidate and PDI-P outclassed
by the Golkar electoral machine
Another former general with a controversial past: most seriously alleged by the UN
to have deliberately overseen human rights abuses in East Timor during Indonesia's
eventual withdrawal, which saw terrible massacres. Led the Indonesian Military
(TNI) during the downfall of Suharto and, paradoxically, is credited with not using the
Army to impose a new military regime (but is accused of orchestrating human rights
violations with Jakarta militias, especially against the Chinese community, in 1998).
Stood unsuccessfully as VP candidate in 2009 (on the ticket of former Vice
President and Aceh peace negotiator Josef Kalla). Was Golkar's presidential
candidate in 2004
The only thing that makes Wiranto a viable
candidate is the money and extensive TV media
machine from recent party convert, billionaire
media tycoon and extrovert, Hary (one 'r')
Tanoesoedibjo, who would be VP candidate if
Hanura passes the DPR threshold (which we think
unlikely). Could be someone’s VP candidate if
he delivers Hary T’s money (e.g. to Bakrie or
Once – but perhaps no longer – considered a 'rock star' amongst foreign investors,
this US-educated millionaire was the westernized foreign face that greets inward
investment. Some expressed frustration at his lack of ability to deliver, however, and
saw him as having more profile than power within the Indonesian government. His
resignation from office to pursue the Democrat candidature was controversial. Fans
say he is 'rich enough not to have needed corruption’. Critics dislike his agitprop
Gita Irawan Wirjawan economic nationalism and he stands criticized for supporting vested interests in
Until very recently was areas like food import quotas in order to curry favor with the Democrat party power
Minister for Trade
All the things that made Pak Gita popular with
foreigners conspire against grass-roots popularity
in Indonesia. His gambit to lead the Dems is to say
he can connect better with Indonesia's young
electorate than the President's brother-in-law,
General Pramono (and this may be true). The fact
he is still mostly perceived as corruption-free may
also be attractive to a party currently imploding
under the weight of corruption investigations of its
Head of the Hanura
The candidates: the family firm
Pramono Edhie Wibowo
Former armed forces
chief and brother-in-law of
the current president
Chairman of the PAN
party and Coordinating
Minister for the Economy.
His daughter is married to
one of the current
Some observers of Indonesian politics say the current president, Yudhoyono,
is steering the wreckage of his party to be a family dynasty, as his Democratic
Party tumbles ceaselessly in the polls. The troubled Dems have been holding
a confusing and ill-defined Primary process to select their candidate for 2014,
and Pramono is widely touted for the role. It is a cliché of Indonesian politics
to say that voters prefer a general. This was true for Yudhoyono's two wins in
2009 and 2004 but, arguably, that was an older generation of voters who had
just lived through 30 years of military dictatorship and, in the early ‘000s, when
Indonesia seemed on the edge of splintering chaos. No sign younger voters
feel this today. Wibowo looks like a family favorite to be a DP candidate in the
unlikely event the Democrats win enough votes in the DPR to field their own
Being Yudhoyono’s brother-in-law makes him a
safe pair of hands for the Yudhoyono family –
keeping the place warm for a future son to stand
perhaps - but does not add to his electability; nor
perhaps does being a former general in a country
where so much of the electorate in 2014 will be
under 30 years old and have not served in the
military. Unlikely to win presidency if a
candidate (and polls currently suggest the
Democrats may not pass the DPR threshold to field
their own candidate, without buddying-up with at
least one other party)
Rajasa is a fascinating figure. A modernizer who is closest to political
Islamists, and a social conservative who is also passionate about modern art,
but it should be noted that his name is being brought up in a current corruption
scandal more often than is wise for a would-be president. Some controversy
too over how leniently his son was treated by the courts, having been charged
with vehicular manslaughter. That said, he would be a formidable campaigner
(his campaign machine has been in place for months). Mining and oil & gas
foreign investors are highly suspicious of him (which probably helps him
electorally). The Economist and its ilk will likely not write kindly of him, come
the time, but they don’t have a vote. Among – with Jokowi - the most
economically-nationalist of all the viable candidates but he also has a
reputation as a can-do minister
PAN may struggle to win enough votes to field its
own Presidential candidate. His supporters would
love him to be VP candidate in a Jokowi/PDI-P
presidential bid (but it is hard to see what Jokowi
would gain from this); more likely to be a VP
candidate with with Bakrie/Golkar or
Prabowo/Gerinda. We think he could be just the
chap to be VP on a Prabowo ticket which, in a race
without Jokowi, could beat a Megawati/Bakrie
• Whoever wins the next election faces a number
of significant policy challenges.
• It is also uncertain as to what policy direction
the new president will take, as many of
Indonesia’s politicians and political parties fail
to articulate a detailed “manifesto” during the
• For business, understanding the new
government and the new policy landscape will
be a substantial but crucial public affairs