Indonesia towards Decentralization and Democracy
Indonesia is the largest South East Asian Country, which gained independence from Japanese colonial rule on 17 August 1945, after more than 300 years of Dutch colonialism. Total independence was obtained in December 1949, after the war against the Netherlands, who tried to regain its colonial power. This ethnic Malayan dominated country covers of an area of 1,919,440 sq. km, which is composed of 1,826,440 sq. km of land and 93,000 sq. km of water. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the estimated total population in 2006 was 245.453 million with a 1.41% growth rate. It is bounded by Singapore and Malaysia to the north and Australia to the South, and composed of 17,508 islands, 6,000 of which are uninhabited. Admistratively, Indonesia is divided into 34 provinces and 410 “regencies” (kabupaten), which are comparable to municipalities. The term “regency” is adopted from the Dutch colonial rule, when the local leaders were appointed by the Monarch as “regents.” In addition, 98 cities (kota) represent the urban areas, which are the governmental status comparable to kabupaten. The capital Jakarta is regarded as a special city/province within the governmental system, headed by a Governor and composed of five kota, each headed by a mayor. The province of Yogyakarta (in central Java) and Aceh (in far north Sumatra) are regarded as special provinces as a cultural and religious arrangement. It reflects the complex socio-cultural composition of the society, associated with the colonial past and adherence to Islam.
KeywordsLocal Government Civil Society Central Government Comparative International Development Local Election
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