Elections in Indonesia Essay examples

Submitted By bkh3
Words: 2379
Pages: 10

May 1998. It’s still clear in my mind the incident that left my parents and my sisters distraught. At about 3 pm in the afternoon, my mom picked my sisters and I at school as usual. She told us that we needed to be home as soon as possible. I could see from her expression that something was bothering her. We were quiet in the car until she told us this minutes later. “The road that we usually take to go home is being bombarded by rioters. They are attacking police, anti-riot soldiers, stores, cars, everything.” Her story frightened us. We were really scared. The car moved really slowly because of the traffic. A few moments later, we heard gunshots and people screaming. My mom knew that she had to choose a different path to go home. A block away from the riot, there was a shortcut that my mom knew, so we could be home fast. She turned the wheel to the right, the car slowly moved to the right, and it stopped. The engine wouldn’t start. Other drivers were honking at us angrily. We could see that the riot slowly came nearer. We could see clearly gravel and bottles were being thrown to our car. We could hear police yelling at us to move the car. Not knowing what to do, my mom told us to pray while she kept on trying to start the car. Suddenly, the car started and my mom drove as fast as possible to bypass the riot. At home, my mom told me that the rioters were angry because Soeharto, the President of Indonesia, announced that he would increase the price of gasoline and electricity.

Indonesia was governed by Soeharto for 32 years (1966-1998), with six elections, all held under conditions that guaranteed his hold on power (Christopher J. Dagg, 2007). Back in Soeharto era, Presidents were elected by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR). MPR is one of the higher institutions in Indonesia. Under the original 1945 Constitution, the MPR was empowered to elect the President, and also drew up the government’s five-year mandate.

May 1998 riot in Indonesia.
Rioters were furious at Soeharto’s decision to increase the price of gasoline and electricity. Cars and stores were attacked and burnt.

(Source: http://stat.ks.kidsklik.com/statics/files/2012/05/13376214821588160552.jpg)

According to Dwight Y. King (2000), Professor in Department of Political Science of Northern Illinois University, Transparency International's corruption index recently ranked Indonesia, under the leadership of Soeharto, the third most corrupt country in the world behind Cameroon and Nigeria. How was this possible? Why did it take so many years for Indonesian people to discover this? How could Soeharto be a president for 32 years? Lastly, do all Indonesian citizens care about their president’s background? After Soeharto resigned, a reformation was planned to change the structure of government and how the leaders were elected to ensure that power could not again be concentrated in the hands of a few. Through this paper, I want to persuade Indonesian citizens that democratic election can lead to accountability, good governance and social development because the right to vote gives the people of Indonesia the power to elect which figure to lead them to a better future.

Initially, Soeharto dictatorship brought about improvements in the country’s political conditions and economy. Under his New Order, communist party and its mass, as well as Kora Dwi Cabinet were demolished. Also, the prices for basic needs were decreased. However, governance in the new order and dictators tended to be racist. Indonesian citizens of Chinese descent were often marginalized. They were not allowed to hold Chinese organizations because they support communism. Moreover, ethnic Chinese were also prohibited from occupying a position in the government. Another weakness of Soeharto leadership was student movements were restrained; they were prohibited from forming political organizations, and campuses were encouraged to only allow student organizations that focused on arts and