Elections in Indonesia?
Since its independence from the Netherlands in 1945, Indonesia has yet to taste democracy that is supposedly bought by liberation from colonialism. Since 1946, many pressure groups, mostly Indonesian students educated in the Netherlands, have pushed President Soekarno to commence democratic elections, at the least to form a working parliament. President Soekarno, however, asked the students to temporarily halt their demands, and also asked for time to form an adequate legislature. Now, in the form of the DPR (People's Representative Committee), a true Indonesian legislature has been achieved, and the demands of the students have started again.
After at least a week of being continually pressured by students to hold democratic elections, President Soekarno announced yesterday that in a short time, after at least 3 years of adequate planning, that democratic elections will be held for the DPR and the Konstituante, another legislature dedicated to forming a new constitution for Indonesia, replacing the constitution of 1945 (UUD 1945), a temporary constitution for Indonesia, formulated only weeks after the proclamation of independence. These elections, though expected to be held in 1955, are hoped to bring liberal democracy into Indonesia.
Even though the halls of the DPR building in Jakarta are still empty, there are already many political parties in Indonesia. These political parties were mostly established in the 1920s, as youth movements against the colonial Dutch government. Several of these parties chose legislative struggle through the Dutch-formed Volksraad. Others, however, chose a non-cooperative stance against the Dutch, others just by not entering the Volksraad, other by plain armed struggle. These parties have given Indonesia some political foundation to stand on during the planned elections. The number of these parties are numerous, but so far only four have gotten widespread support. This edition of the Jakarta Post will give some information on those parties. The four parties are:
Partai Nasional Indonesia/PNI (National Party of Indonesia)
The National Party of Indonesia, led by Soekarno, is expected to take the largest share of the legislative pie in any election any time soon. Other than Soekarno's popularity and charismatic personality, its nationalistic and anti-Western leaning policies are expected to attract many voters. Other than nationalism, the PNI also promotes SOekarno's own personal ideology known as 'Marhaenism', which many people believe is the Indonesian combination of nationalism and communism
Masyumi (Consultative Council of Muslim Indonesians)
Little is known about the Masyumi except that it is an Islamic party and that it was officially founded in Yogyakarta in 1945, with its main goal to be a 'representative of Indonesian muslims in politics'.
Nahdlatul Ulama/NU (the Rise of Islamic Intellectuals)
The NU is another Islamic party, much more older than the Masyumi. It merged with the Masyumi in 1945 but split up last year. Neither of these two organizations have distinctive features that differ the two. However, both these parties are expected to make gains because of the 'Islamic factor'.
Partai Komunis Indonesia/PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia)
The PKI's new role in Indonesian politics has been seen as controversial by many. The Madiun rebellion of several years past has not yet gone forgotten by many people, even though its leader, Musso, was not even a member of the PKI at that time. The PKI is currently led by Amir Sjarifuddin, with strong deputies in the young D.N Aidit and Nyoto. Despite these factors, the PKI is expected to gain in the elections, the communist ideology, which promotes equality, and the suspected Soviet backing being the main factors.
Leader of the Indonesian National Revolution
President of the Republic of Indonesia