Street scene in Jakarta, Indonesia

Political situation Overcoming the consequences of years of dictatorship

Since the removal of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, Indonesia has been going through a process of political transformation. Numerous reform laws and decrees have been adopted since then. For example, freedom of the press has been granted, the banking sector has been reformed, social protection systems have been established or enhanced, and the police and military have withdrawn completely from the political arena.

The regional conflicts and sometimes violent disputes of the past have become less severe. The former Indonesian province of Timor-Leste, the occupation of which was accompanied by grave human rights violations, became independent in 2002. Since then, both countries have been working towards reconciliation and good relations.

Decentralisation and participation by the people

Positive impacts have also been achieved through a decentralisation programme that has given more powers to local and regional authorities. The transfer of considerable budget funds to districts and municipal authorities has provided significant new scope for local public investment. That scope must now be used in an effective and transparent manner.

Rule of law and governance

For a long time, the political culture in Indonesia was characterised by the government's clientelism, parliament's weak position, a lack of transparency in the judicial, financial and security sectors, and a cumbersome administration prone to corruption.

Corruption remains widespread, and the government's efforts to combat it sometimes meet with a good deal of resistance. In the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, Indonesia ranks 96th out of the 180 countries evaluated (2017).

However, these deficits are increasingly being made a subject of public discussion by an ever more confident civil society. Political liberalisation has created new opportunities for people to voice their interests collectively.