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International IDEA's Work
Regions: Indonesia

The inauguration of a democratically-elected government in 1999, following more than 30 years' authoritarian rule under President Soeharto's New Order regime, was an important milestone in Indonesia's transition to democracy. This political history, however, has left its scars. Much of the development that the New Order government promoted was controlled by oligarchies that fed on corruption and spurious business practices. The fragility of Indonesia's stability has been further underscored since 1999 by the rise in ethnic and religious violence, as well as the emergence of conflict and infighting among the political elites. The country is faced with the challenges of ensuring that the transition period is consolidated on the basis of a sound institutional framework and supported by universally-accepted practices that will support and nurture democracy.

International IDEA's strategy in Indonesia relies on its competitive strengths in democratization support:

  • By promoting technical assistance in the electoral field
  • By encouraging political dialogue

Since 1998, International IDEA has provided strategic advice to national actors in government and civil society on options relating to the electoral system and on the management of election management bodies. The Institute has facilitated the publication of voter-education material and has translated the International IDEA Handbooks Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers and Democracy and Deep-rooted Conflict into Bahasa Indonesian as a resource for political dialogue. The Institute has also sponsored initiatives to strengthen women's political participation, involving women members of the national parliament.

International IDEA facilitated a democratization assessment for Indonesia that addressed the challenges and opportunities for strengthening the transition to democracy. The Indonesian version of the assessment was formally launched in Jakarta in November 2000. The English-language edition, Democratization in Indonesia: An Assessment, was released at the same time.

In October 2001, International IDEA held a conference in Jakarta titled 'Review of Constitutional Institutions to Promote Sustainable Democracy and Effective Administration' in Indonesia. The conference aimed at identifying the challenges facing Indonesia and to generate a debate on key areas of constitutional design and process.

International IDEA's activities in Indonesia aims at deepening democratization at two levels. At one level, activities are targeted at strengthening the core institutions of governance relating to elections and constitutional reform. At another, International IDEA will attempt to promote participatory processes in constitution making, and the inclusion of women and minorities in politics. The media will therefore be an important partner in the coming year.

More specifically, the programme focuses on the following four areas of democracy-building:

  • Technical support for the electoral processes to generate wide debate on electoral systems and management, including training of new members of the National Electoral Commission.

  • Facilitation of a participatory comprehensive constitutional review, aiming at generating wider public attention to the issue and prompting Parliament to respond.

  • Utilizing International IDEA's handbook on Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, the institute will promote increased participation by women in politics.

  • Progress-tracking of democratization and reform process in Indonesia, involving local partners (civil society organizations), by monitoring and evaluating progress in human rights, law reform, local governance and civil society involvement.

For further information, contact:

Indraneel Datta, Programme Officer
E-mail: indraneel.datta@ideaindo.or.id

 

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