The Government of Indonesia is based on the 1945 Constitution, as amended in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. Article I of the Constitution establishes a republican form of government that recognizes the sovereignty of the people.

Indonesian Constitution (English version in PDF Format or from the website of Indonesia’s parliament.

Today, the Government of Indonesia is organized into seven organs of the state and three branches of government.

State Organs

  1. The People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat)
  2. The Presidency
  3. The People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat)
  4. The State Audit Board (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan)
  5. The Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung)
  6. The Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi)
  7. The Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah)

Branches of Government

The executive branch of government is headed by the president and vice president. The president is the head of government, the chief of state, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Together with the vice president, he is elected for a five-year term and can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. The president appoints the members of his cabinet, who are responsible for the Government’s ministries.

The legislative branch is based on the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), or Indonesia’s parliament. The MPR is made up of two bodies: the People’s Representative Council (DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (DPD). Together, these groups have the power to pass laws, amend the Constitution, conduct formal inquiries, oversee the state’s budget, and dismiss the president and vice president in accordance with the Constitution.

The People’s Representative Council, or DPR, is made up of 550 representatives elected by the people. The Regional Representative Council, or DPD, is made up of four representatives from each province, as elected by the people. As of the 2004 election, there were 128 representatives in the DPD.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeals, and oversees all lower courts. These include general, military, administrative, religious, and commercial courts. To safeguard its impartiality, it is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government.

The two state organs not under these three branches of government exist on their own. Both the State Audit Board (BPK) and the Constitutional Court (MK) are independent government organizations. The BPK ensures the responsible use of tax dollars throughout the government. The MK makes final, binding decisions on the constitutionality of laws and disputed election results.

Local Government

Indonesia has 33 provinces (For more information about the provinces, click here). Through a process of decentralization, these provinces have been granted greater power. In addition to decentralization, the provinces of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and Papua also govern under a status of Special Autonomy.

Decentralization has given both provinces and regencies (municipalities) greater authority. In fact, the central government has retained control over just five areas: foreign affairs, defense, justice, monetary policy, and religion. Local governments are responsible for providing all other services.

As part of this ongoing reform, Indonesia began a process of direct local elections in 2005. Prior to these direct elections, citizens voted for political parties instead of candidates.