Indonesia. The election of parliament and new president marked the political year. The opposition party PDI-P (Indonesia’s Democratic Party for Struggle) became the largest in the parliamentary elections in April with 109 of the 560 seats in the lower house. However, the result of 19% was a disappointment. Since the party did not receive 25% of the vote, its presidential candidate, the capital of Jakarta’s popular governor Joko Widodo, must form a coalition in the presidential election.
The second largest party was Golkar, the party president Suharto’s party, with 91 seats (15%) while Gerindra was third with 12%. The party progressed strongly and received 73 seats compared to the 26 it won in 2009. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s DP (Democratic Party) backed sharply to 61 seats from 148, partly as a result of some bribery.
According to Countryaah.com, Indonesia population in 2020 is estimated at 273,523,626. The official election results on May 15 showed that five Muslim parties collected almost 30% of the vote, an increase compared to 2009. Of the four Muslim parties that passed the 3.5% blockade, the PAN (National Mandate Party) was the largest with 49 seats.
Former General Wiranto’s Hanura party and the new NasDem party, founded by media mogul Surya Paloh, also squeezed places. The turnout was 73% and women received 94 of the seats in the lower house.
In the presidential election, Widodo’s couple horse was former Vice President Yusuf Kalla from Golkar. The main opponent, former General Prabowo Subianto from Gerindra, was a candidate for a former finance minister.
Joko Widodo does not belong to the old power elite or the military that has dominated historically. His popular style struck many camps, not least among young people. He also had support from PDI-P leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, the country’s first female president in 2001-04 and daughter of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno.
Subianto’s past as commander of the military security forces has attracted some criticism. He had been forced to resign following an investigation into abuse during the 1998 protests that forced Suharto away. However, until the election day of July 9, Subianto approached according to several opinion polls.
The Election Commission announced July 22 that Widodo won by 53% against Subianto’s 47%. Nearly 135 million voted, and turnout was 80%. Subianto appealed with reference to election fraud. The Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal on August 21.
Parliament convened on 1 October. Six parties supporting Subianto in the presidential election formed an alliance, and with about 60% of the seats secured, among other things, the presidency. In the future, they can also block Widodo’s reform program. The lower house also decided to abolish direct elections for governors and mayors. The system was introduced in 2005 and helped Widodo to make a career.
Widodo swore presidential oath October 20. There, among others, was Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott. In August, the countries had agreed on a code of conduct and resumed intelligence cooperation that was broken after the crisis in late 2013 when it emerged that Australia was listening to President Yudhoyono and others.
Eight of the 34 ministers in the new government were women. Retno Marsudi became the country’s first female foreign minister and Megawati’s daughter Puan Maharani also received a post.
The country faces major challenges. The economy is one. Growth in the first half of the year was 5.2%, the lowest level since 2009. Bureaucracy and corruption are other problems. In November, the government cut fuel subsidies by 30% to push down the budget deficit. It triggered minor protests. The decision was expected when Widodo said it had to direct the subsidies – last year worth about $ 32 billion – to infrastructure and other projects.
In December, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal against the ban on exporting unprocessed copper and nickel ore. The ban began to apply in January. The purpose is to increase processing in the country, the world’s largest nickel producer.
During the election campaigns and shortly after his entry, Widodo visited the eastern part of Papua. He stated that more efforts were needed on health care and education, but that does not suppress the demands of the separatists. Several deaths were reported in clashes between rebels from separatist OPM (Organization for a Free Papua) and security forces during the year. Human rights groups demanded that independent observers and journalists be allowed to visit Papua freely and that demonstrations be allowed. Two French journalists were arrested in August during a reporting trip.
In August, the government illegally declared all forms of support for the Islamic State (IS). Authorities reported that recruitment attempts for IS were ongoing, but Jakarta has not openly supported the US-led campaign against IS. In September, seven people were arrested on suspicion of terrorist plans, four reported to be foreigners.