Fri, 29 Jan 2010
From: Reuters
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Institutional reforms by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his second term are seen as critical to spurring investment in Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Here are some facts about the political system and policy making in Indonesia:

PARLIAMENT AND PRESIDENT

The President is the head of state and head of government and, along with the vice president, is elected in a direct presidential election as in the U.S. system. A separate election is held for parliament.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his vice president Boediono were elected with 60.8 percent of the vote in presidential elections in July last year. The next election is not due until 2014.

Yudhoyono's Democratic Party won around 20 percent of the vote in legislative elections in April last year. He chose to form a coalition with several other parties, including those that have stymied reform in the past.

POLICY MAKING

Policy is made in several different ways.

The House of Parliament, known locally as the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or DPR, can pass legislation.

Before legislation reaches parliament for debate, it is usually first debated by one of 11 commissions made up of lawmakers from a variety of parties.

Once legislation is passed, the relevant ministry must draft implementing regulations, a process that can take years.

Ministers and Departments can also issue decrees governing details not covered in original legislation.

The president can issue a presidential decree, effectively a law that does not need parliamentary approval, though it cannot overrule a law passed by parliament.

The president can issue a government decree in lieu-of-law, which can overrule a law passed by parliament but must be validated by parliament before the end of its next sitting session or it lapses.

The president cannot dismiss the parliament.

No law can overrule the constitution and an active and independent Constitutional Court frequently demands laws be changed because they are seen as being in breach of the constitution.

POLICY PROBLEMS

Parliament often struggles to get a quorum. It is common to see TV footage of the parliament looking mostly empty on days when parliament should be sitting, or to see lawmakers snoozing during debate.

There is a list of 'priority bills' that are first in line to be discussed by parliament but quorum problems mean the parliament is often behind schedule.

A bloated and inefficient civil service means that legislation and policies are not always uniformly implemented.

Corruption in the civil service can also mean the law is not always followed.

There are poorly-managed mechanisms for dealing with conflicts between regulations or between different levels of government, or between central and provincial governments.

(Sources: House of Parliament website www.dpr.go.id, analysts).



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