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Government, Political Parties

Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, Amien Rais, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Megawati, Golkar

Under Suharto, Indonesia’s dominant political organization was the Joint Secretariat of Functional Groups (Sekretariat Bersama Golongan Karya), known by its acronym, Golkar. An alliance of groups representing workers, farmers, youth, and other interest groups, Golkar had strong support from Suharto’s government and consistently secured a majority of seats in the largely advisory parliament.

In the early 1970s Suharto’s government forced Indonesia’s Muslim opposition parties to merge into the United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, or PPP) and the rest of the opposition parties to merge into the Indonesian Democratic Party (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia, or PDI). Both the PPP and the PDI suffered from tight government control and from their artificial creation, which gave rise to factional conflicts. In 1993 Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of the late president Sukarno, was elected chair of the PDI. Her influence in Indonesian politics grew, to the alarm of her military-backed rivals in the PDI. In June 1996 her rivals ousted her, prompting riots in Jakarta. Megawati formed a faction party called the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

After Suharto resigned in 1998, the government repealed the ban on political parties. Since then more than 100 parties have formed. The most important are the PDI-P, headed by Megawati, who became vice president in 1999 and then president in 2001; the National Awakening Party (PKB), the party of former president Abdurrahman Wahid; and the National Mandate Party (PAN), headed by Amien Rais. Golkar remains a force but is much weaker than it was during the Suharto years, and the PPP still has considerable support.

Indonesia also has several regional political groups that support independence for the regions. The most significant of these groups are the Free Papua Movement, which advocates independence for Papua, and the National Liberation Front Aceh Sumatra, which seeks independence for Aceh.

Article key phrases:

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