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What is the role of political leadership in Indonesia?
Indonesia is said to be an ‘Emerging Economy’ by an American political scientist Ian
Bremmer. Indonesia being a democratic state is one of the very few countries which are cited as
an example of economic policymaker through the political figures and their interest. The political
structure of Indonesia is divided into three branches, each with its own role to play. These
branches include the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch.
The executive branch consists of further three divisions which include: the President, Vice-
President, and the Cabinet. Both the President and the Vice-President are elected by the general
public of Indonesia for a fixed term of five years which can only be extended for another five
years once under the condition that the general public may re-elect them. During this term, both
the President and the Vice-President act as an inseparable team and they hold a quite significant
political strategic importance. Currently President Joko Widodo or Jokowi has developed the
country in the past few years with respect to its economy immensely. Jokowi believes that the
country’s economic stability is the key to his own success and the country’s success as well.
Indonesia has had a history of volatile inflation rates. However, under the leadership of Jowoki,
this inflation rate has been under check and stabilized. The first year of his political leadership
was said to be a turbulent year because of the political and economic developments throughout
the nations. The former Trade Minister Mari Pangestu mentions that Jokowi has taken steps to
ensure that Indonesia comes back on track from its fiscal and economically unstable years.
Although the increase in the economy was not as spectacular as expected, it was still quite solid.
In 2016, the economic growth was approximately 5% which is the same as the year before it.
Jowoki has primarily focused on the infrastructure of the country, rather than the front because
he believes by correcting the basic structure of organization, the front face would automatically
prove more efficient. The most recent completed project of his includes the Merah Putih Bridge
in 2016 which costed the country almost $66 million. Apart from that, other projects such as
Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway which would cost $5.5 billion, Kalibaru Port which would
cost $4 billion, and Trans-Sumatra toll road which would cost $36.1 billion along with many
other projects are currently underway as well which would benefit the country in the long run far
greater than the short run. On top of that the political leaders also reached out to the private
sector in order to improve the tax amnesty targets, but the effects were significant on the tax
reform front. Currently, they are working on private investment growth including the
infrastructure which are based on the 14 economic regulations packages not fulfilling the
investor’s needs and requirements. Although it was estimated that the cost of doing business
would go down, rather it remains in peril. However, the leadership of Indonesia shows an upright
and progressive attitude and based on its previous situation, they have developed the country in
far greater heights than before.
The second branch includes the legislative branch which consists of the People’s
Consultative Assembly or also known by its local name Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat,
abbreviated MPR. Its purpose is to keep in check the constitution and make amendments if
necessary. On top of that, it also draws and passes laws based on the need of the situations and
designing the annual budget with the collaboration of the President. Lastly, it also oversees the
country’s political affair and the foreign affairs. The legislative branch has not shown much
efficiency in its work over the years. After the 2014 legislative elections, the number of parties in
the house increased from nine to ten, which means that the already existing house would become
even bigger. The more parties are involved in the legislative decision-making process, the more
time they consume and become less efficient. Moreover, the increase in the number of parties
also resulted in the increased number of debates and as a result out of the 75 laws that were
presented as a need for the situation, only 22 laws were passed and the rest were put down due to
the debate. There was supposed to be a trimming of the Indonesian Legislation where each party
would be offered a higher degree of the vote instead of a higher number of parties. However, that
operation failed as the popular votes went up to 3.5 percent which rose from 2.5 percent back in
2009. Lastly, the judicial branch has also played its role quite significantly.
The civil law system of Indonesia is based on the Roman-Dutch model and is majorly
influenced by the customary demands of the situation. The main problem that the judicial system
faces is that the law enforcement in Indonesia is quite weak. In case of clear laws dictating clear
judgments by the judge, and even in the case of clear rulings ruled out against the suspect, the
law enforcement fails to perform at an ideal scale. The leadership which enforces the legal
system, which includes the Supreme Court and other institutions are underfunded by the
Executive body of the government mentioned earlier. This lack of funding results in a weaker
and less effective law enforcement system.
Although the Executive body is in itself quite efficient and effective, it focuses primarily on
the economic stability of the country. On the other hand, the legislative branch has also been in a
state of declining performance with regard to their proficiency and responsiveness to any event.
In addition to that, lack of proficiency of the legislative branch, the judicial branch is also
struggling because of too little funding by the executive body. Although the political leadership
of Indonesia has come a long way on its road to success, there still a few aspects which require
further improvements such as the effectiveness and efficiency of the legislative branch and the
proper funding and ruling over the law enforcement.

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