-Legal and Constitutional Reform- IFES promotes legal and constitutional reform in Indonesia as part of an overall effort to encourage democracy in the region, working closely with key government agencies involved in drafting new electoral and political laws for the country. We have provided strategic advice and analysis to the drafting team within the Ministry of Home and Regional Affairs (MoHARA) and will continue to provide expert commentary to the parliamentary commission charged with review of the draft laws submitted by the government. We have also produced a report on voting systems that could work under the new electoral laws, including detailed analysis of possible voting districts using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.
In June 2002, IFES co-sponsored a Political Party Reform Conference with the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. The conference was a working session for Indonesian political parties and broke ground on a number of innovative research projects in such areas as the influence of money in politics and the public’s opinion of Indonesian political parties. We presented a paper on electoral systems, such as open list proportional representation and multi-member district proportional representation, which could be used for the 2004 elections in Indonesia.
IFES has taken the lead in addressing the issue of women’s representation in politics. In April 2002, we collaborated with an Indonesian NGO, GPSP, to develop an agenda for a nationwide training program and an action plan to increase women’s representation in local parliaments. The training program and action plan were presented at regional workshops where participants developed local strategies to address obstacles to women’s representation.
-Election Administration- For four years IFES has provided technical advice to the Indonesian National Election Commission (KPU) and its Secretariat in such areas as electoral management, public relations, organizational structure and procurement policies.
In May 2002, IFES embarked on a new initiative in the province of Aceh, participating in a seminar sponsored by the Center for Electoral Reform (CETRO) on the draft Qa’nun, or electoral law, for direct elections in the province. We made a presentation at the seminar on the timeframe required to prepare for such an important and complex election cycle.
-Legislative Transparency- IFES is expanding efforts to increase legislative transparency, particularly at the local level. Through the use of an innovative program known as Local Consultative Forums (LCF), we have built strategic partnerships between local NGOs, community groups, businesses and government. The aim of the LCFs is to increase public awareness and input on issues of interest to the community and to coordinate the production of relevant radio and television programming for regional media. IFES began the program by producing and distributing an LCF handbook, which provides guidance in identifying community needs and methods for participation. We have then assisted local leaders to establish LCFs and facilitated the production of radio and television programs in conjunction with local government and civil society groups.
IFES also works with the Indonesian parliament to provide citizens unfettered access to government institutions. In October 1999, we helped launch SWARA, a government affairs television channel based on C-SPAN in the United States. SWARA airs 24 hours per day and features live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings. Coverage has recently been expanded and enhanced through a number of original new shows, including interviews with the heads of factions, coverage of leadership activities, profiles of parliamentary members, and highlights of key debates and activities within the parliament.
SWARA has also extended its coverage in key regions outside of Jakarta where provincial parliaments (DPRD) have requested SWARA programming. SWARA recently began to broadcast DPRD sessions from the troubled province of Aceh in an attempt to make the local government more transparent to the Acehnese people. SWARA also broadcasts DPRD sessions in East Java and Sulawesi.
-National and Regional Surveys- IFES has played a lead role in the design, implementation and analysis of public opinion surveys in Indonesia since 1998. Under the auspices of the parliament, we conducted a national public opinion poll in 2002. The poll revealed public perceptions on a wide range of topics, including the performance of the Indonesian government and national leaders, the popularity of political parties, the electoral law reform process and regional autonomy. The results of the survey were presented to the two houses of parliament, their secretariats, the president and her cabinet. These surveys enable government institutions to develop policies that take into account the beliefs and aspirations of the Indonesian people.
IFES also recently conducted a public opinion survey in the semi-autonomous region of West Papua in collaboration with eight Papuan research institutes and universities. The survey evaluated the knowledge, opinions, practices and attitudes of people living in West Papua, and the findings will be analyzed for opportunities to create a stable and peaceful society in this ethnically diverse province.