REFORMASI in Indonesia started 1998 has brought about fundamental changes in Indonesia’s democracy and in the general elections system. Presidential elections which were previously practiced through indirect elections or by the voting of members of the Parliament (House of Representatives) “on behalf of the people” since Indonesia’s independence in 1945 had transformed into direct presidential and local government leaders’ elections. The legal basis for direct presidential elections is Article 6 A of the 3rd Amendment of the 1945 Constitution adopted by the Parliament in 2001, and for direct elections of the local government leaders is Article 18 verse (3) of the Fourth Amendment of the 1945 Constitution adopted in 2002. In line with these changes, the Acts concerning the conduct of elections have been continuously adjusted, with the Act No. 7 Year 2017 adopted as the basis for the conduct of the general elections in 2019, and the Act No. 10 Year 2016 as the basis for the local elections.
Following the entry into force of the Act No. 32 Year 2004, local government leaders have been directly elected, and local election was for the first time conducted in June 2005. Local elections which had been organized individually at different times were then carried out simultaneously in 2015, started with 269 regions at different levels. The next simultaneous local elections were conducted in 2017 with 101 regions, and the most recent one took place on 27 June 2017 in 171 regions, comprising 17 provinces, 115 regencies and 39 cities. Most, if not all, of the elections went well and smoothly, even though there had been political tensions during the campaign and cases of disputes submitted to the Constitutional Court (CC) after the elections. Of the 147 regions that submitted their cases of disputes to the CC in 2015, 5 of them were requested by the CC to conduct re-elections. The CC ruled that the General Elections Commission (GEC) and the Elections Supervisory Board to coordinate and supervise the implementations. The results of the re-elections are usually accepted by all and there has never been results of re-elections that were challenged afterwards.
Simultaneous local elections exist as a modality for strengthening consolidations of democracy locally and at the national level with the the objectives of creating efficient and effective democratic process. Thus, democracy has been running on track, and doing well due to the synergy of clear legal foundations, good institutions, as well as education process and public awareness on how to live in better democratic environment. Democratic election does not the objective, nor an instant process, it is one of the instruments to promote people’s welfare and better socio-political living in Indonesia.
About the Speaker
His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the President of the Republic of Singapore on 25 February 2016. He is a career diplomat who has been in the diplomatic service for almost 30 years.
Prior to assuming his current post, he had served as Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to ASEAN (2010-2013) and Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Cambodia (2009-2010). He also served as Head of the Economic Diplomacy Task Force at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2013 to 2015.
Other posts that Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya had held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs include, among others, Director of ASEAN Political Security Cooperation (2006-2008) and Director of Development Cooperation and the Environment (2004-2006).
During his tenure, Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya has served as Head or Alternate Head of Delegation for many ASEAN and UN Meetings. He was the Chair of the Working Group to draft the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism and involved in the drafting of the ASEAN Charter.
Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya holds a Law Degree from Udayana in Bali and a Master of Arts from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston, USA. He is married with 2 children.