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The History of Election in Indonesia

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Election is a method of selecting people’s representatives. Therefore, for a country that considered as democratic country, the elections must be held within a certain period.


In Indonesia the election held once in five years. It is done for the momentum that shows directly how the citizens participate in the government activity.

During the elections all of candidates who want to be the state government officials depend entirely toward the will of the citizen. Election is also one of the big events for all of Indonesians. Here the history of election in Indonesia.

  1. 1955’s

The first election in Indonesia and often referred as the most democratic elections was conducted in 1955. Although it was held while the state situation is not conducive, more than 80 political parties, mass organizations, and dozens of individuals took part in the run. In this election, the people elected DPR and Constituent Assembly members in two periods.

The First period was on 29 September 1955 to elect members of the House of Representatives and the second round was held on 15 December 1955 to elect Constituent members. At that time members of the armed forces and police could participate to the election.

The first election was conducted successfully and peacefully. It could be seen from the level of citizen participation was so high. Legitimate votes during the election reached 88 percent of 43 million voters. While voters whose voted were invalid (golput) only amounted to 12.34 percent.

  1. 1971’s

On July 5, 1971 was the second election. It was also the first election after the new order. At that time the election followed by 10 political parties and the new party (Golkar) became the winner. Some political parties in 1955 General Election no longer participated because it was dissolved.

Some parties like  Majelis Syuro Muslimin Indonesia (Masyumi), Partai Sosialis Indonesia (PSI), and Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) couldn’t participate the election. It was because PKI considered as Communist Party of Indonesia.

In the implementation of the Election using a proportional system with a closed list and all seats were divided in each electoral district. Golkar won by bringing 62.8 percent of the vote (236 DPR seats). Next winner was followed by other parties such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Parmusi, Partai Nasional Indonesia, and Partai Syarikat Islam Indonesia. However, in this election, golput first triggered and campaigned actually decreased about 6.67 percent.

  1. 1977

The third election was held on May 2, 1977. The process did not make much difference from the election in the 1971 that using Proportional System. The characteristic of the 1977 election system was the number of parties which participated in the election. There were only only three parties such as PPP, PDI and Golkar.

This occurred after the government together with the House of Representatives tried to simplify the number of parties by making Law no. 3 of 1975 about Political Parties and Golkar. The result of vote calculations, there were the more than 70 million voters, nearly 64 million votes were valid (about 90.93 percent.)

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  1. 1982’s

The 1982 general election was held simultaneously on 4 May 1982. The system and objectives were same with the election in 1977, in which the members of parliament (DPR) were elected. It was just a little bit different in the composition. A total of 364 members were directly elected by the people, while 96 were appointed by the president.

This election was conducted based on Law no. 2 1980. While for the legitimate vote in the calculation of 1982 reached more than 75 Million. Again, Golkar became led the calculation as the winner.

  1. 1987

The next election was held on April 23, 1987. It was conducted still with the new order system. The election goal was also  still the same as the previous election that was choosing members of parliament. The total seats available were 500. Of these, 400 were directly elected and 100 were appointed by President Suharto.

The electoral system used was the same as the previous election, which was proportional to the Party-List variant. In this election of more than 93 million voters, about 85 million votes were valid or (91.32 percent).

  1. 1992

The fifth election conducted periodically in the New Order government. It was held on June 9, 1992. It was didn’t make any difference from the previous elections, the system and goals were also still the same. The valid votes in this period reached 97 million more votes, of the total registered voters 105,565,697 people.

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  1. 1997

The 1997 election was the last election in President Suharto era. This election was held on May 29, 1997. The system and purpose of holding elections was still the same with the previous election, Proportional with Party-List variant. It chose 424 members of the House of Representatives. On 7 March 1997, a total of 2,289 candidates (candidates) were approved to fight in order to obtain parliamentary seats.

This 1997 election was getting a number of protests. In Kabupaten Sampang, Madura, dozens of ballot boxes were burned by the masses because election fraud is considered outrageous. In this year, the number of valid votes was almost 113 million votes.

  1. 1999

The election in 1999 was the first election after the collapse of the new order. It took place on 7 June 1999.This election was held under the leadership of President B.J. Habibie. It operated under the political system of Liberal Democracy. The number of party participants was no longer limited. There were 141 parties with the parties that passed the verification to participate in the election were just 48 parties.

Unlike previous elections, the 1999 Election suffered some obstacles in the vote counting process, of which 27 political parties were unwilling to sign in 1999 election results. The next issue was the distribution of seats. The 1999 election used the similar method with the 1971 election. The voter reached 94.63 percent. While the number Golput only about 5.37 percent.

  1. 2004

The 2004 Election was held simultaneously on 5 April 2004 to elect 550 DPR Members, 128 DPD Members, and Members of DPRD (Provincial DPRD and Regency / City DPRD) throughout Indonesia 2004-2009 period. While to elect the president and vice president for the period of 2004-2009, it was held on July 5, 2004 (round I) and 20 September 2004 (round II).

The 2004 election was a separate history for the Indonesian government since it was the the first time the people of Indonesia elect his president directly. It was also proving a serious effort to realize Presidential government system adopted by the Indonesian government.

The 2004 election was the first period of the victory of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However, in the legislative elections, the number of registered voters who did not exercise their voting rights was quite large, about 23 million more votes, of the registered 148 million registered voters, or 16 per cent excluding the right to vote.

  1. 2009

Election 2009 was the third election during the reformation period simultaneously held on 9 April 2009 to choose 560 Members of DPR, 132 DPD Members, and Members of DPRD (Provincial DPRD and Regency / City DPRD) in Indonesia period 2009-2014. Meanwhile, to elect the president and vice president for the period of 2009-2014 was held on July 8, 2009 (one round).

Election 2009 became the second period of the election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono accompanied by Prof. Dr. Boediono as vice president. The number of golput was nearly reached 50 million votes or about 30 percent.

  1. 2014

The 2014 election was composed of legislative elections aimed at selecting members of the DPR, DPRD, and DPD, and presidential elections. Legislative elections were held on April 9, 2014 while the Presidential Election was held on July 9, 2014 (one round). The previous president, Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono couldn’t rejoin to become the candidates of president of Indonesia since the rule banned the third period for a president.

The presidential election finally won by Joko Widodo as president and Jusuf Kalla as the vice president with the result 53.15% of the total votes.

Those are the history of elections in Indonesia. Remember that the election in this country happens once in 5 years. It means that the next of the election period will conduct in 2019. As Indonesians, it is a mandatory for you to participate in the next election.

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