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Indonesia And Democracy

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Salam alaikum,

I thought Zareen or others might have something more to say about this subject. Is Democracy in Indonesia fact or fiction?

The article below can be found here:

2011-07-25

Winning the Transition

WASHINGTON, DC – Is the Arab Spring turning into a gloomy autumn? With brutal crackdowns in Syria, a bloody civil war in Libya, and Yemen teetering on the brink of chaos, the number of skeptics is growing. Although Egypt and Tunisia's pro-democracy movements achieved rapid regime change, uncertainties remain in those countries, too. After a brief period of hope, many observers now wonder whether the region is capable of producing viable, and economically vibrant, democracies.

Revolutions and their aftermaths, of course, are always fluid and fickle times, and the outcome is often perched on a knife's edge. Bridging the vast gap between high expectations and the reality of limited budgets and capabilities is a test in itself. Redressing past injustice and building an economy that offers opportunity to all are major challenges as well, fraught with volatility, uncertainty, and the dangers of political opportunism.

But transitions are also times of great opportunity. In the 1990's, I was among those Indonesians who demanded and celebrated the departure of our own autocrat, Suharto, and I joined the new government when he left. Many observers predicted that Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, would be unable to sustain democracy and would ultimately decline into chaos. The task ahead of us was daunting. But we proved the skeptics wrong, and learned some fundamental lessons.

Perhaps most importantly, we learned that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for democratization. Each of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa will face unique challenges, which will have to be addressed on their own terms. Even so, they all must make a real and symbolic break with the past. The new authorities must send strong signals that the old ways are finished.

Change must be formally manifested, with new laws that are widely publicized. Legislation that empowers citizens with freedom of expression, free and independent elections, and freedom of association is crucial, and it must be made clear to the public that no one is above the law. Anything less will undermine the transition.

Moreover, corruption is the bane of development everywhere, so new governments should move fast to establish institutions and procedures to fight it. Transparency and accountability are powerful ideas with near-universal support, which means that new leaders should not give up when the fight becomes difficult. Civil-society organizations, local communities, representatives of the poor and vulnerable, and women play a vital role in this regard, and they should be included at every level of decision-making.

In Indonesia, we signed a hundred laws in less than 18 months, covering everything from media freedom to elections, corruption, decentralization, and anti-trust rules. We ratified new public-finance legislation and ensured the independence of the country's central bank.

New leaders must also expect and manage setbacks. In post-revolutionary times, expectations are high, and the obstacles to meeting them are enormous. I know from personal experience that we did not always have the luxury of getting the best outcomes. We had to compromise and settle for the best possible results.

Security threats are among the most serious setbacks in transitions. Nationalistic sentiment is strong, and politicians and interest groups can exploit it. Often, the security forces are holdovers from the old regime, and there is no independent judicial system. Reforms will take time, and the old bureaucracies may not be able to implement them.

In Indonesia, we used various innovations to work around such dilemmas. For example, we appointed an independent judge to take over the bankruptcy and corruption courts, because career judges were too tainted. Likewise, when we started cash-for-work programs as part of our pro-poor agenda, we asked communities to run these initiatives.

More broadly, new leaders are well advised to ensure that the economy performs well. It is important to restore economic activity and create a favorable environment for entrepreneurs, particularly small and medium-size businesses, which constitute the main engine of job creation. The recent revolutions, it should be recalled, started with the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit vendor, who was harassed and insulted by the authorities.

But economic success without accountability and social inclusion is not sustainable, and new governments often must face tough choices in order to protect the poor and vulnerable. They might have to abolish mis-targeted subsidies to free up resources for more targeted and efficient anti-poverty and job-creation programs.

In Indonesia, we had to draw a line between the very poor and the near-poor. We could not afford to raise salaries or provide subsidies for everybody. Our help had to be targeted. So, while we helped the neediest, we excluded others who were not poor enough to benefit. This was a tough and unpopular choice.

Finally, countries in transition need support – not only money, but also technical know-how to implement highly complex reforms. When I became Indonesia's finance minister, I had 64,000 employees. But when we had to modernize our tax system, we could not find the required expertise anywhere in our country.

Yes, we needed external assistance, but we never surrendered "ownership" of the reform process; we made it work for us. If we Indonesians had not been in charge of our own transition, it could easily have failed. That lesson, too, is one that all countries in transition should bear in mind.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati is Managing Director of the World Bank Group and a former finance minister of Indonesia.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.

www.project-syndicate.org

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Salam alaikum,

I thought Zareen or others might have something more to say about this subject. Is Democracy in Indonesia fact or fiction?

It appears to be fact. They hold elections for representatives of their regions and parties. They have the power to choose their president as well. And in those parties, they attempt to balance power with respect to the peoples wishes.

"Change must be formally manifested, with new laws that are widely publicized. Legislation that empowers citizens with freedom of expression, free and independent elections, and freedom of association is crucial, and it must be made clear to the public that no one is above the law. Anything less will undermine the transition.

Moreover, corruption is the bane of development everywhere, so new governments should move fast to establish institutions and procedures to fight it. Transparency and accountability are powerful ideas with near-universal support, which means that new leaders should not give up when the fight becomes difficult. Civil-society organizations, local communities, representatives of the poor and vulnerable, and women play a vital role in this regard, and they should be included at every level of decision-making.

In Indonesia, we signed a hundred laws in less than 18 months, covering everything from media freedom to elections, corruption, decentralization, and anti-trust rules. We ratified new public-finance legislation and ensured the independence of the country's central bank.

"

I was just about to say, They do have freedom of speech and peacefull protest. Issues may include corruption in their representatives, but in all honesty, every country has some form of corruption in their representatives.

Edited by iSilurian

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It's fiction, believe me. As long as the goverment still being dictated by the west greedy proposed. We never be a free country.

Indonesia, in comparison to countries of its region, is on the rise in wealth and is doing well. Do you believe that the west is dictating the countries actions and are making it more wealthy?

Also, the person who wrote this article is describing the actions of Indonesian people themselves, their representatives and their Judicial leaders..

Do you believe this is all made up? If so, why?

Edited by iSilurian

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It looks wealthy, just like it was look prosperous under soeharto with his 'pembangunan' policy although his regime full of corruptors which is swarming all over goverment institutions.

alas, this lady, sri mulyani, 'know' what is best action that indonesia should be taken. After resigned herself from economy minister to avoid the recent bank century bailout's scandal, she's been appointed as managing director of world bank which was unsurprising move to say.

There are plenty political activists who knew her true color. On the other hand she knew-in case if she's not involved-who is getting involved in this scandal.

And speaking about indonesian action in election, all of these mumbo jumbo about how democratically elected our representative are just another bull[Edited Out]s that government try to deviate people and international opinions. I witnessed how they rigging the votes for someone's favors and turn in the blind eye as if nothing happened. Most people know it, they just gets used with it while holding pessimistic view how to solve it.

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It looks wealthy, just like it was look prosperous under soeharto with his 'pembangunan' policy although his regime full of corruptors which is swarming all over goverment institutions.

alas, this lady, sri mulyani, 'know' what is best action that indonesia should be taken. After resigned herself from economy minister to avoid the recent bank century bailout's scandal, she's been appointed as managing director of world bank which was unsurprising move to say.

There are plenty political activists who knew her true color. On the other hand she knew-in case if she's not involved-who is getting involved in this scandal.

And speaking about indonesian action in election, all of these mumbo jumbo about how democratically elected our representative are just another bull[Edited Out]s that government try to deviate people and international opinions. I witnessed how they rigging the votes for someone's favors and turn in the blind eye as if nothing happened. Most people know it, they just gets used with it while holding pessimistic view how to solve it.

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It looks wealthy, just like it was look prosperous under soeharto with his 'pembangunan' policy although his regime full of corruptors which is swarming all over goverment institutions.

And speaking about indonesian action in election, all of these mumbo jumbo about how democratically elected our representative are just another bull[Edited Out]s that government try to deviate people and international opinions. I witnessed how they rigging the votes for someone's favors and turn in the blind eye as if nothing happened. Most people know it, they just gets used with it while holding pessimistic view how to solve it.

statistically it is developing. Hopefully then the corruption will settle down a bit.

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I'm Indonesian, and I can say for sure that Indonesian democracy is not far off the American Democracy, here the government hold double standard on many issues which in the end the elites always win, the current administration is well known for their Neo Liberal policies.

I'm Indonesian, and I can say for sure that Indonesian democracy is not far off the American Democracy, here the government hold double standard on many issues which in the end the elites always win, the current administration is well known for their Neo Liberal policies.

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"Democracy" does not and has not existed in true form anywhere in the world. That true form would be actual direct democracy, that is only suppose to have allegedly existed among the Ancient Greeks of Athens, Greece. The US is run by a corrupt two party plutocracy wherein the people have no actual choice and merely are given the "choice" between two corporate puppets controlled by the mega corporations and lobbies and don't represent the actual mass of the people at all. People and the world need social justice. http://revcom.us/a/014/avakian-democracy.htm

"In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about “democracy”—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no “democracy for all”: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality."

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