Discussion Papers

No.235 Is the Indonesian President Strong or Weak?

by KAWAMURA Koichi

May 2010


This paper analyzes the newly institutionalized political system in democratizing Indonesia, with particular reference to the presidential system. Consensus has not yet been reached among scholars on whether the Indonesian president is strong or weak. This paper tries to answer this question by analyzing the legislative and partisan powers of the Indonesian president. It must be acknowledged, however, that these two functions do not on their own explain the strengths and weaknesses of the president. This paper suggests that in order to fully understand the presidential system in Indonesia, we need to take into account not just the president’s legislative and partisan powers, but also the legislative process and the characteristics of coalition government.

Keywords: executive-legislative relations, presidency, legislative process, democracy

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