Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia

Editor, Melissa Crouch

The Indonesian Constitution is an important legal text that governs the world’s third largest democracy. After decades of authoritarian rule, a key aspect of the transition to constitutional democracy was the amendment of the 1945 Constitution. The amended Constitution introduced profound changes to the legal and political system, including an emphasis on judicial independence, a bill of rights and the establishment of a Constitutional Court. This volume explores the ongoing set of debates over the meaning, implementation and practice of constitutional democracy in Indonesia. This includes debates over the powers of the legislature, the role of the military, the scope of decentralisation, the protection of rights and permissible limits on rights, the regulation of elections, the watchdog role of accountability agencies, and the leading role of the Constitutional Court. These legal issues are analysed in light of the contemporary social, political, and economic environment that has seen a decline in tolerance, freedom and respect for minorities. Contributions to this volume review the past two decades of reform in Indonesia and assess the challenges to the future of constitutional democracy amidst the wide-spread consensus on the decline of democracy in Indonesia. Demands for amendments to the Constitution and calls to revert to its initial form would be a reversal of Indonesia’s democratic gains.


“Indonesia’s experiment with constitutional democracy is now two decades old.  As the country enters a challenging period, there is no better guide to understand developments than this volume of superb essays by an array of keen observers. The project will also inform broader debates in the field of comparative constitutional law. Highly recommended!” Professor Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago