The Indonesia Election: Explained

Valentine’s day, February 14th 2024, or the election day, if you are in Indonesia is the date you have probably seen being mass broadcasted in social media (way too often) for the last few months. Whether you are only a visitor or temporarily staying in Indonesia for certain period of time, the election day is a topic you probably couldn’t avoid.

What is the Indonesian election?

PEMILU” (Pemilihan Umum) or the General Election in english is held once every five years with the purpose to decide the next president & vice president as well as the next batch of politicians that will hold authority of Indonesia’s political and regulatory climate for the next period of administration. PEMILU is divided into four categories: PEMILU for the People’s Representative Council [“DPR”], PEMILU for the Regional Board [“DPD”], PEMILU for the Regional Representative Council (“DPRD”), as well as PEMILU for the next President & Vice President of Indonesia.

The process of the General Election by simultaneously selecting said four categories is done due to a factor called the “Selection Divisor Number” (Bilangan Pembagi Pemilihan or “BPP”). This number is obtained through the division of total voting result and total amount of seats available in each region to decide the total of seats received for the participants’ political party and the determination of the new members of DPR, Provincial’s DPRD, and District/City’s DPRD.

Rules & Procedures

President & Vice President’s Requirements

The general rules and procedures concerning the election is generally covered in the 1945 Indonesia’s Constitution (“UUD 1945”), further explained in present implementing regulations, namely Law Number 7 of 2017 on General Election (“Law 7/2017”) and Regulation of the General Election Commission Number 29 of 2019 on Technical Guidelines for the Implementation of Voting and Counting of Votes at Polling Locations in the 2009 Presidential and Vice Presidential General Elections (“Regulation of the General Election Commission 29/2019”).

Essentially, the presidential candidate for the election must conform to this set of requirements:

a.An Indonesian citizen by birth and never take other citizenship by their own will;
b.Their spouse must be an Indonesian citizen;
c.Registered as voter;
d.Never take office as President or Vice President for two periods of administration within the same role;
e.Minimum age of 35 years old (*UPDATED* through Contitutional Court’s Decision 90/PUU-XXI/2023);
f.Minimum education of high school or equivalent;
g.Physically and mentally capable to fulfill the roles of President & Vice President as well as free from drug abuse;
h.Domiciled within the territory of Indonesia;
i.Have reported their wealth towards relevant authority institutions and declared not bankrupt as well as do not hold any debt liabilities whether personal and/or as Legal Entity;
j.Hold a Tax ID number (“NPWP”) and have fulfilled their duties to pay due of their taxes for the last 5 years, proven through their Personal Mandatory Annual Income Tax Notification (Surat Pemberitahuan Tahunan Pajak Penghasilan Wajib Pajak Orang Pribadi);
k.Not concurrent to participating in the Presidential election also participate in the DPR, DPRD, or DPD’s election;
l.Never been convicted to prison due to criminal act with the sentence lasting for as long as 5 years or more;
m.Not a former member of the Communist Party or its mass organization, or personally involved in G.30.S/PKI.

Note: These requirements have been summarized in accordance with the laws regulating it.

DPR, Provincial’s DPRD, District/City’s DPRD Rules & Procedures

Relating to the parliament’s PEMILU rules and procedures, it is as well generally regulated within the 1945’s Indonesia’s Constitution (UUD 1945). Further defined within Law 7/2017 and Regulation of the General Election Commission Number 6 of 2009 on Changes to General Election Commission Regulation Number 34 of 2008 Concerning 2009’s Voting Letters of Candidate Members of The Council of Representative Council, Provisional Regional People’s Representatives, and District/City’s Regional People’s Representative Council As Amended By Election Commission Regulation Number 36 of 2008 (“General Election Commission Regulation 6/2009”).

First and foremost, the participants of the parliament’s election are political parties. The main requirement of a political party’s ability to join in the election is through the determination done by the General Election Commission’s (“KPU”) via its verification process. This validation process would include fulfilling these requirements:

a.Hold the status of ‘Legal Entity’ as in accordance with the laws and regulations regarding political parties;
b.Possess administration capacity in every province;
c.Possess 75% of administration capacity in numbers of district/city at related provinces;
d.Possess 50% of administration capacity in numbers of subdistricts at related district/city;
e.Enclose at least 30% of female representatives within its central political party administration;
f.Consists of at leasts 1,000 members or 1/1,000 and consists of residents’ of diverse provinces as mentioned in letter C proven by possession of a membership card;
g.Own a permanent office for its administration at the central, provincial and districts/cities until the final stages of the election;
h.Submit the political party’s name, symbol, and the party’s Image Sign to the General Election Commission; and
i.Submit PEMILU’s campaign account number under the political party’s name to the General Election Commission.

Note: In the case of PEMILU for DPD, it is done independently. Without the affiliation of any political parties.

The Significance of the General Election

From possessing seats at the parliament which implies the maintenance for influence of certain political parties to representing conccuring issues related to the livelihood of the people of indonesia, whether for personal or ideological purposes. The General Election is the ultimate form of democracy. It provides for regeneration and justice for the people of Indonesia to channel their aspirations as rightful citizens of the country.

However, what is easily spoken and said proves to be more difficult in practice. In reality, corruption and greed of power runs rampant. With the rich and powerful holding the status quo, leaving scraps to the common people to fend and survive in the ever worsening economical, environmental, and societal situations. Nonetheless, change doesn’t come from the cynic and fearful. It happens through the humility and empathy of persons to keep learning and strive for the justice of all people.


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