Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, elects its bicameral legislature today, in the world’s second most massive election (after India). Indonesia’s bicameral legislature has 560 seats in the lower house, or People’s Representatives Council (DPR) and 132 seats in the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Both chambers are elected via proportional representation on a provincial basis. Indonesia remains a struggling democracy since 1998, when the long-time dictator, Suharto, was ousted. Government corruption remains very important.
Most Indonesian parties are based around the common local ideology of Pancasila, devised by the country’s founder, Sukarno. The three biggest parties in the DPR and the President’s party all adhere to the principles of Pancasila. The dominanting parties are Golkar, Suharto’s party; the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Sukarno; and the Democratic Party (PD) of the current reformist President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). All these parties, like almost all Indonesian parties, are personal machines. And the Pancasila parties have no real and concrete ideological differences, except for the phrasing of their fluff. Smaller parties include the Islamic (the degree of Islamism and religious rhethoric varies from party to party, either from moderate democratic Islam to Muslim Brotherhood-type stuff) National Awakening (PKB), United Development Party (PPP), Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Crescent Star Party (PBB), and the moderate Islamic (but classified as Pancasila) National Mandate Party (PAN).
The last election was held in 2004. Here are the results for the DPR.
Golkar 21.6% winning 128 seats
PDI-P 18.5% winning 109 seats
PKB 10.6% winning 52 seats
PPP 8.1% winning 58 seats
PD 7.5% winning 57 seats
PKS 7.3% winning 45 seats
PAN 6.4% winning 52 seats
PBB 2.6% winning 11 seats
Others I’m too lazy to list 17.4% winning 38 seats
Islam-based parties 35% winning 218 seats
Around 113 million voters cast ballots in the election.
In the July presidential election, the first direct election of the kind, PD candidate Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono defeated PDI-P incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri with over 60% of the vote. SBY’s Vice President is Jusuf Kalla from Golkar. However, Golkar’s relation with the PD has become less cordial lately, with the eventuality of a Golkar-PDI parliamentary opposition bloc quite likely.
SBY is very popular, and, by the looks of it, will likely win easy re-election in July. However, Indonesian law says that a party must win at least 20% of the parliamentary vote or 25% of the seats in order to field a candidate outright (parties not achieving this threshold often form a coalition with another party to be able to field a candidate). If the PD breaks 20%, SBY will be able to run alone on a reformist platform. If not, he’ll need to cobble together a shaky coalition making his reformist agenda a tad more difficult to implement.
New parties this time around include two new personal machines of two Suharto-generals. These are Hanura, led by General Wiranto; and Gerindra, led by Prabowo Subianto.
Early exit polls tonight give SBY’s PD around 20%, the PDI-P at 15%, Golkar at 13%, the PKS at 8%. Pre-election polling placed the PD at 26.6%, PDI-P at 14.5%, Golkar at 13.7%, PAN at 5.1%, PKS at 4.9%, PPP at 4.8%, and the PKB at 3.6%. Others polled 18.4% and 8.2% were undecided.
SBY leads Sukarnoputri 52.5% – 18.5% in a presidential matchup in the first round. Kalla polls 4.4%.
Elections are also being held in the separatist province of Aceh, which you probably remember from the 2004 tsunami. The Aceh Party of the former separatist rebels is expected to win massively.