The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The 1945 constitution provided for a limited separation of executive, legislative, and judicial power.
The governmental system has been described as "presidential with parliamentary characteristics."
Following the Indonesian riots of May 1998 and the resignation of President Suharto, several political reforms were set in motion via amendments to the Constitution of Indonesia, which resulted in changes to all branches of government.
A constitutional reform process lasted from 1999 to 2002, with four constitutional amendments producing important changes.
Among these are term limits of up to two five-year terms for the President and Vice President, and measures to institute checks and balances.
The highest state institution is the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), whose functions previously included electing the president and vice president (since 2004 the president has been elected directly by the people), establishing broad guidelines of state policy, and amending the constitution.
The 695-member MPR includes all 550 members of the People's Representative Council (DPR) (the House of Representatives) plus 130 "regional representatives" elected by the twenty-six provincial parliaments and sixty-five appointed members from societal groups
The DPR, which is the premier legislative institution, originally included 462 members elected through a mixed proportional/district representational system and thirty-eight appointed members of the armed forces (TNI) and police (POLRI).
TNI/POLRI representation in the DPR and MPR ended in 2004. Societal group representation in the MPR was eliminated in 2004 through further constitutional change.
Having served as rubberstamp bodies in the past, the DPR and MPR have gained considerable power and are increasingly assertive in oversight of the executive branch.
Under constitutional changes in 2004, the MPR became a bicameral legislature, with the creation of the Dewan Perwakilan Daerah (DPD), in which each province is represented by four members, although its legislative powers are more limited than those of the DPR. Through his appointed cabinet, the president retains the authority to conduct the administration of the government.
A general election in June 1999 produced the first freely elected national, provincial, and regional parliaments in over forty years. In October 1999 the MPR elected a compromise candidate, Abdurrahman Wahid, as the country's fourth president, and Megawati Sukarnoputri — a daughter of Sukarno, the country's first president — as the vice president.
Megawati's PDI-P party had won the largest share of the vote (34%) in the general election, while Golkar, the dominant party during the Soeharto era, came in second (22%). Several other, mostly Islamic parties won shares large enough to be seated in the DPR. Further democratic elections took place in 2004 and 2009.
The president and vice president are selected by vote of the citizens for five-year terms. Prior to 2004, they were chosen by People's Consultative Assembly. The last election was held 8 July 2009.
The president heads the United Indonesia Cabinet (Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu)
The President of Indonesia is directly elected for a maximum of two five-year terms, and is the head of state, commander-in-chief of Indonesian armed forces and responsible for domestic governance and policy-making and foreign affairs. The president appoints a cabinet, who do not have to be elected members of the legislature.
The People's Consultative Assembly (Indonesian: Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, MPR) is the legislative branch in Indonesia's political system. Following elections in 2004, the MPR became a bicameral parliament, with the creation of the DPD as its second chamber in an effort to increase regional representation.
The Regional Representatives Council (Indonesian: Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD) is the upper house of The People's Consultative Assembly.
The lower house is The People's Representative Council (Indonesian: Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR), sometimes referred to as the House of Representatives, which has 550 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation in multi-member constituencies.
Political parties and elections
The General Election Committee (Indonesian: Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU ) is the body responsible for running both parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia.
Prior to the General Election of 2004, the KPU was made up of members who were also members of political parties, however members of the KPU must now be non-partisan.