Today (Wednesday 09/04), the people of Indonesia will choose their representatives for the national and regional legislative institutions. Polling stations have been open since 07:00 local time. Although there are about 190 million Indonesians who are eligible to vote (out of a total population of around 250 million), the turnout may be much lower. At stake are 560 seats in the House of Representatives (DPR), 132 seats in the Regional Consultative Council (DPD), and about 19,000 local government positions.
This parliamentary election is of strategic importance for the presidential election that will follow on 9 July 2014 as a minimum of 25 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election (or 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives, DPR) gives a party the authority to nominate a presidential candidate.
The polling stations will close at 13:00 local time. Quick counts of the legislative election are scheduled to be broadcast in real time from 13:00 local time by Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) and LKBN Antara. These quick counts, conducted by the General Elections Commission (KPU) as well as other organizations, are usually reasonably accurate (within a few percentage points of the official result).
Outline of Indonesia's legislative branch
The legislative branch is the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, abbreviated MPR). It has the power to set or change the Constitution and appoints (or impeaches) the president. The MPR is a bicameral parliament that consists of the People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, abbreviated DPR) and the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, abbreviated DPD). The DPR, consisting of 560 members, draws up and passes laws, produces the annual budget in cooperation with the president and oversees the general performance of political affairs. It is elected for a five-year term through proportional representation based on general elections. Remarkably, this DPR is notorious due to the frequent occurrences of corruption scandals. This causes that a significant portion of the Indonesian population has lost trust in politicians, which hurts turnout at polling stations during elections as they prefer to golput (abstain from voting or intentionally invalidate the ballot).
The DPD deals with bills, laws and matters related to the regions, thus increasing regional representation at the national level. Every Indonesian province elects four members to the DPD (who serve for a five-year term) on non-partisan basis. As Indonesia contains 33 provinces, the DPD consists of a total of 132 members.
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