Politics & democracy

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

In Indonesia, regional autonomy (otonomi daerah, or "Otda") is a loose term used by government ministers and the media usually to describe transfer of authority and functions from central to regional government, as set out in Law No 22 of 1999. Because the term is used so loosely there is often confusion between devolution of authority - government by the region - and delegation of authority - government in the region.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

In this time of great economic, political and ecological uncertainty in Indonesia, regional autonomy is just one of the big question marks hanging over the country's future. It is a particularly complex issue because it concerns much more than the devolution of authority from Jakarta to regional level.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

How far will local democracy be capable of counteracting the negative influences of the military, the economic crisis, the untrustworthy judiciary and endemic corruption?

During the Suharto years local level democracy was suffocated. Local governments rubber-stamped decisions made by Suharto and his ministers in Jakarta just as the national parliament did.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

Another major obstacle to the sustainable management of natural resources is the continuing prominence of the military in many regions. Its continued high profile role from province to village level means that it is a potent threat to the success of regional autonomy, where 'success' means managing local resources sustainably, sharing benefits equitably and respecting human rights.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

The tension between state control over resources and local communities' demands for 'sovereignty'.

The tug of war between the centre and the regional governments has dominated the debate about regional autonomy in the media, in parliament and among Indonesia's creditors.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

In a recent article outlining the history of decentralisation in Indonesia, Trevor Buising states that the changes to be introduced by Law 22 "are not as great as imagined".

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

West Papua is facing an explosive political situation: Papuan independence leaders have been given more freedom to meet and express their demands than ever before during Indonesian rule, but this is happening against a background of continued political oppression and Jakarta's outright refusal to discuss independence.