Indonesia Table of Contents
The highest constitutional body is the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), which meets every five years in the year following the elections to the parliament--the House of People's Representatives (DPR). The MPR has 1,000 seats, 500 of which are assigned to the members of the DPR. Of the other 500 seats, 100 are reserved for representatives of professional groups, including ABRI, appointed by the president and, as of 1992, 147 seats were held by delegates elected by provincial-level legislative assemblies. The balance of seats--253 in 1992--were assigned after the 1987 DPR elections on a proportional basis to representatives of the political parties, depending on their respective membership in the DPR. Golkar took the largest number of these seats based on its 1987 winning of 299 of the 400 elected DPR seats. This election resulted in a total of 540 Golkar seats in the MPR, an absolute majority even without counting the ABRI faction and the provincial-level representatives. The Muslim-based PPP only had sixty-one DPR seats and ninety-three MPR seats, whereas the PDI, with its forty DPR seats, was at the bottom of the MPR list (see Political Parties , this ch.).
The principal legislative task of the MPR is to approve the Broad Outlines of State Policy, a document that theoretically establishes policy guidelines for the next five years. The draft is prepared by a government task force and is expected to be approved by consensus. In 1988, however, the PPP forced a recorded vote on two amendments to the Broad Outlines of State Policy, which, although the government won overwhelmingly, was taken by some observers as an indication that automatic adherence to the requirement for consensus was no longer a given in Indonesian politics. The first issue advanced by the PPP had to do with the legal status of Javanese mysticism (aliran kepercayaan) as a recognized religion. Aliran kepercayaan is the formal expression of kebatinan (see Glossary) or religiously syncretic Javanism, a set of religious practices that the PPP rejected as heterodoxy (see Islam , ch. 2). The second amendment had to do with a commitment to cleaner and fairer elections. This issue reflected the PPP's experiences in the 1987 general election. In 1992, in response to the perception that the MPR was no longer satisfied with a rubber-stamp role, Suharto declared that the 1993 MPR would have greater input into the initial stages of drafting the Broad Outlines of State Policy.
Data as of November 1992