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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Indonesia

Indonesia - An Election Monitor Takes a Photo of a Tally Form

A nonpartisan citizen election observer snaps a photo of the C-1 form (with final tally of votes for each presidential candidate) at a polling place in Jakarta in July 2014.

The 2014 elections marked a crucial turning point for Indonesia’s democracy. Following successful parliamentary elections in April, nearly 135 million Indonesians went to the polls in July to directly elect their next president. The competitive race between Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, governor of Jakarta, and Prabowo Subianto, a former special-forces general, resulted in the most closely contested presidential election in the nation’s history. Despite the incentive for increased electoral manipulation, vote buying and fraud, the election was deemed credible and inclusive by most national analysts. On July 22, 2014, the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced that Jokowi had won in 23 provinces securing 53 percent of the vote. A month later, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court upheld the results, rejecting an appeal by Prabowo that claimed widespread electoral fraud. During Jokowi’s inauguration in October 2014, the world’s third largest democracy witnessed its first transfer of power from one directly elected president to another.

Though Indonesia has emerged as a model for democracy in the region, its transition has not been without setbacks. Since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, Indonesia’s ambitious programs of institutional reform and democratization have been marred by violent protests, ethnic and sectarian strife and secessionist movements. The country continues to confront ongoing issues of corruption and a rise in fundamentalism and sectarian violence. Despite these challenges, however, Indonesia has succeeded in its efforts to create a credible constitutional court and elections commission, as well as an active and powerful anti-corruption commission.

The 2014 elections were an important step forward for Indonesia, but Jokowi’s administration faces challenges to sustaining the country’s achievements in democracy and development. As Indonesian civil society is increasingly called upon to promote public confidence in elections and democratic institutions, citizen activists will need to further develop their capacity to educate the public and effectively monitor political processes.  

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NDI has worked in Indonesia since 1996, when it supported domestic efforts to monitor the 1997 parliamentary elections. NDI also engaged political parties and domestic election monitoring organizations in preparation for the 1999, 2004, and 2014 elections, and partnered with local civil society organizations to conduct parallel vote tabulations (PVT) or “quick counts” in 2004 and 2009. NDI has also conducted wide-ranging programs to strengthen political parties, elected bodies and civil society organizations; these have included helping local civic groups conduct independent observation of Indonesia’s local and national elections by using methods such as sample-based observations, voter attitude surveys and voter registry assessments. The Institute has been especially active in Aceh, helping civil society and political parties establish democratic governance and free and fair elections in the province since the signing of the 2005 Aceh Peace Agreement.

In 2009, NDI’s programs focused on providing electoral assistance, strengthening political parties’ ability to compete in elections, and increasing women’s political participation. That year, women’s representation in the national legislature rose by seven percent — the biggest increase in Indonesian history. Following the 2009 elections, the Institute worked with political parties to support party caucuses (fraksi) in the legislature as they generated and reviewed new legislation, conducted government oversight and reached out to constituents. In addition, NDI has provided advice and comparative examples from experts around the world, along with information, mentoring and training to party representatives and parliamentary staff at the national and local levels. NDI has also partnered with local institutions, such as the Indonesian Parliamentary Center, to organize a series of issue-based forums to bolster communication between legislators and policy-focused civil society organizations on issues of mutual concern.

NDI has conducted focus groups with political party caucuses (fraksi) and the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of Indonesia to show how qualitative research can be used to develop policy. NDI has also partnered with the Women’s Political Caucus of Indonesia (KPPI) to increase women’s leadership within political parties and elected bodies. In 2005, KPPI received NDI’s inaugural Madeleine K. Albright grant, which supports organizations that create greater roles for women in political and civic life. NDI provided technical assistance to KPPI to broaden its membership base, fundraise for and train women candidates, and sharpen its advocacy on behalf of women’s rights. In addition, NDI has worked with women’s wings of political parties at the national level to support women leaders.

NDI, together with the Institute for Peace and Democracy and the Centre for Democratic Institutions, an Australian democracy development organization, initiated the Asian Political Leadership Program, a regional hub for experience-sharing among political party leaders. The inaugural program involved 15 emerging political party leaders from 10 countries in Asia and the Pacific region. The partnership emphasized regional expertise, in particular Indonesian experience and leadership, to impart democratic leadership skills and organizational techniques among peers in the region.

Most recently, NDI’s work in Indonesia has focused on civil society-led voter education and election monitoring in four target provinces: North Sumatra, Central Java, Maluku and Papua. In advance of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections,  NDI partnered with the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES) to conduct an independent, systematic voter registry assessment in North Sumatra, Central Java and Maluku, and voter registration process monitoring in Papua. For the 2014 polls, NDI supported the Partnership for Governance Reform (Kemitraan) in conducting nonpartisan citizen election observation, and partnered with the Society for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) and KPPI to organize voter education and information campaigns targeting key constituencies – including women, youth and underrepresented ethnic groups.

Funding

NDI's programs in Indonesia have been funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, United States Agency for International Development, Australian Agency for International Development, British Embassy in Jakarta, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, World Bank and Japan Social Development Fund, Citigroup Foundation, Liz Claiborne Foundation and United Nations Development Programme.

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Jacqueline Corcoran, Senior Advisor
[email protected]
Washington, DC

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Published Publication Title Author
06/24/2015 Civic Updates
Civic Update
National Democratic Institute
03/06/2014 Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
10/23/2013 Increasing Women’s Political Participation Through Effective Training Programs: A Guide to Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Training Manual
National Democratic Institute
04/03/2012 Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors
Declaration
10/31/2011 Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation (Now available in Burmese)
Manual|Handbook
Julie Ballington
12/01/2008 NDI Reports: A Review of the Activities of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
06/24/2008 National Democratic Institute: SMS as a Tool in Election Observation
Article
Ian Schuler
10/01/2007 Changing the Face of Politics: Women in Politics
Brochure
National Democratic Institute
09/06/2006 Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World: Keynote Address by H.M. Hidayat Nur Wahid at Jakarta Follow-up Conference
Speech
H.M. Hidayat Nur Wahid
12/01/2005 NDI 2005 Annual Report
Report
National Democratic Institute
10/27/2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers
Manual|Handbook
01/05/2005 Towards a More Effective Indonesian House of Representatives: Options for Positive Change by Legislators
Report
National Democratic Institute
09/22/2004 Voting in Second Round of the Presidential Election Proceeds Slightly Better than First Round
Statement
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES)
09/20/2004 Projection: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Will be Indonesia's Next President
Report
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES)
08/01/2004 Party-on-Party Monitoring of Asia Electoral Campaigns: Taiwan; South Korea; Philippines; Indonesia
Report
National Democratic Institute
07/07/2004 Yudhoyono/Kalla Win Broad Support, Narrower Constituencies Matter for Other Major Tickets
Statement
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES)
07/06/2004 Voting in First Round of Presidential Election Proceeds Smoothly and Safely, But High Rate of Invalid Votes at Some Polling Stat
Statement
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES)
07/05/2004 Statement on Results of National Quick Count for the July 5 Presidential Elections: Projection: No Outright Winner, Second Round
Statement
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES)
06/30/2004 Advancing Democracy in Indonesia: The Second Democratic Legislative Elections Since the Transition
Report
National Democratic Institute
06/30/2004 The People's Voice: Presidential Politics and Voter Perspectives in Indonesia
Report
National Democratic Institute