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Simplification of Political Parties

The Government Manifesto of November 3, 1945, opened the way to a rapid growth of political parties. Soon a multi-party system emerged with parties of different ideologies, ranging from nationalism to socialism, religion and even Marxism/Leninism. Hence, the political structure developed into a liberal democracy that was a complete departure from the type of democracy envisaged by Pancasila. With sharply conflicting ideologies, political rivalry was the order of the day and a stable Government was out of the question. With a total of 24 political parties and their fractions, cabinets could only be formed on the basis of a shaky compromise between the strongest parties. In point of fact, coalition cabinets were formed and dissolved very often. The administration was a complete shambles and development was a far cry.

The first and only general election ever held during the rule of the Old Order took place in 1955. Even that election did not produce a strong cabinet with a solid back up in Parliament. On the contrary, because political conditions continued to deteriorate, the President ordered the formation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. However, as mentioned earlier, this only ended up in a total deadlock, which led the president to take all the power of the state into his own hands under the pretext of guided democracy. Having learned from the experience of the unlimited multiparty system of the post, the New Order Government, which came into office in 1967, decided to simplify the political system along the following lines:

  • In order to minimize ideological conflicts between political organizations, all political organizations shall adopt Pancasila as their sole basis principle.
  • To simplify the political system, particularly for the purpose of choosing a political organization by the people in general elections it was felt that the number of these organizations should be reduced.

In the past, villages were made the bases of political activities and maneuvers, most notably in the heyday of the Indonesian Communist Party. This adversely affected the social and economic life of the village populations. Hence, it would be desirable to free villages from the activities of political organizations. Furthermore, the large number of organizations has been reduced by the fusion of parties and their affiliated organizations into two political parties - Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (The United Development Party or Partai Persatuan) and Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (the Indonesian Democracy Party or PDI), and one Functional Group or Golongan Karya (Golkar). Partai Persatuan is a fusion of Nahdlatul Ulama (the Moslem Scholars Party), Parmusi (the Moslem Party), PSII (the Islamic Confederation) and PERTI (the Islamic Union). PDI is a fusion of the former PNI (the Nationalist Party), the Catholic Party, the Christian (Protestant) Party, the Indonesian Independence Party, and Partai Murba (the People's Party). Golkar accommodates the aspirations and political rights and duties of functional groups that are not affiliated with either party, namely civil servants, retired members of the Armed Forces, women's organizations, professional groups, farmers, student, etc.

By virtue of the 1983 Guidelines of State Policy and on the basis of Act No. 3 of 1985, Pancasila has finally been adopted as the one and only ideological principle upon which all political organizations base their activities.

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