The People's Consultative Assembly
(Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat
/MPR) is the legislative branch in Indonesia's political sytem
. It comprises the members of the People's Representative Council
(Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat
, or DPR) and the Regional Representatives Council
(Dewan Perwakilan Daerah
, or DPD). Before 2004
, and the ammendments to the 1945 Constitution
, the MPR was the highest governing body in Indonesia
In accordance with Law No. 16/1960, the assembly was formed after the first general election of 1971. It was decided at that time that the membership of the Assembly would be twice that of the Representative House.
The 920 membership of MPR continued for the periods of 1977-1982 and 1982-1987. For the periods 1987-1992, 1992-1997, and 1997-1999 the MPR's membership became 1000. One hundred members were appointed representing delegations from groups as addition to the faction delegates of Karya Pembangunan (FKP), Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (FPDI), and Persatuan Pembangunan (FPP). For the period of the 1999-2004 the membership of MPR was only 700, likewise for 2004-2009 period.
On 18 August 1945, the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence (the Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia, known as the PPKI) approved a new constitution for the country. It was, however, difficult to implement because of the unsettled postwar conditions. The Preparatory Committee therefore decided to instead implement a document titled The Four Clauses of Transition Regulations.
Clause IV of those regulations stated that until permanent governing bodies could be established all governmental powers would be held by the President with the assistance of a National Committee.
On 29 August 1945, the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP) was set up, with membership drawn from leaders of communities from various regions as well from the Preparatory Committee. the MPR..
On 16 October 1945, Vice President Mohammad Hatta issued a decree that outlined the function and authority of the KNIP. In addition to the assisting the President, the committee would perform legislative duties until an MPR and DPR could be formed. In taking on the functions of the MPR, the KNIP was responsible for creating the Broad Outlines of Government Policy (GBHN).
The role which KNIP played would provide a rough outline of the duties which Preparatory Committee (the MPR) would later perform.
Federal Era and Parliamentary Democracy Era
On 27 December 1949, Indonesia's independence was recognized by the Dutch
Government, and the search was on for a form of government that would suit Indonesia.
From that year until 17 August 1950, Indonesia was known as the United States of Indonesia (RIS) and had a federal system of government. Under the constitution of the RIS, the MPR was not recognized as the highest state institution, and it ceased to function. On the 17 August 1950, however, the RIS ceased to exist, and Indonesia changed its name to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
Parliamentary democracy was the form of government quickly adopted by the newly re-formed nation. It operated under a provisional constitution that did not recognize the MPR. As a result of the 1955 legislative elections, however, a new DPR was formed. In December 1955, a government body called the Constitutional Assembly of Indonesia (Konstituante) was formed, and its duty was to draft a new constitution for Indonesia. Nevertheless, the Constitutional Assembly could not agree on a constitution, and by 1959, the government was demanding a return to the 1945 constitution; this step was rejected by the Constitutional Assembly.
Guided Democracy Era/Old Order
On 5 July 1959, President Sukarno
, who until then had played the role of ceremonial Head of State
intervened. In a decree
, he dissolved the Constitutional Assembly and declared that the 1945 Constitution would thenceforth be in force and that the Provisional Constitution was void. With the return to the 1945 Constitution, the MPR was once again recognized as the highest governing body in the land.
Immediately after issuing the decree, Sukarno set to work in establishing an MPR, although it would be dubbed the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly (MPRS). Sukarno had originally envisaged a legislative election to be held to replace the MPRS with a proper MPR, but that vote was delayed until 1971 under President Suharto's rule.
The MPRS during the Guided Democracy
era numbered 616 members. It consisted of the 257 DPR members, 241 Representatives of the Functional Groups, and 118 Regional Representatives. The MPRS was subservient to Sukarno, with the President deciding everything from the number of seats to the appointment of additional members and the choice of the body's Chairman and Vice Chairmen.
1960 General Session
The MPRS held its first General Session in Bandung
, West Java
from 10 November to 7 December. Its main resolution was the adoption of Sukarno's political manifesto as the GBHN and the broad outlines of an eight-year Development Plan, which was set to start in 1961.
1963 General Session
The second General Session was held in Bandung from 15 May to 22 May 1963. It was at this General Session that Sukarno was elected President for Life.
1965 General Session
The MPRS held its third General Session in Bandung from 11 April to 15 April 1965. This General Session further entrenched Sukarno's ideological approaches in the running of Indonesia. Many of Sukarno's Independence Day speeches were adopted as the guideline for policies in politics and economics. The MPRS also decided on the principals of Guided Democracy, which would involve consultations (Musyawarah
Transition to New Order
1966 General Session
Perhaps the most significant of the MPR's General Sessions was that in 1966. Meeting in Jakarta from 20 June to 5 July 1966, the General Session marked the beginning of the official transfer of power from Sukarno to Suharto. Although the de facto
transfer of power had been made on 11 March by virtue of Supersemar
document, Suharto wanted to maintain the appearance of legality.
During the 1966 session, the MPRS passed 24 resolutions; they included revoking Sukarno's appointment to the life presidency, banning Marxism-Leninism, ratifying Supersemar, the holding of legislative elections, commissioning Suharto to create a new Cabinet, and a constitutional amendment in which a President who might be unable to perform his duty would be replaced by the holder of supersemar instead of the Vice President.
Also during the General Session, Sukarno delivered a speech called Nawaksara ("The Nine Points"), in which he was expected to give account for the 1965 30 September Movement, in which six generals and a first lieutenant were kidnapped and killed by alleged communists. The speech was rejected. and the MPRS asked Sukarno to give a supplementary speech at the next MPRS General Session.
1967 Special Session
The 1967 MPRS Special Session marked the end of Sukarno's presidency and the beginning of Suharto's. Much like the 1966 General Session, the official transfer of power was done before the General Session in March, with Sukarno stepping down from his position in February. Suharto's appointment as Acting President and the withdrawal of power from Sukarno during this General Session was just a formality.
The MPRS also passed a resolution to re-examine the adoption of the Political Manifesto as GBHN.
The Special Session assembled after Sukarno's Nawaksara Supplementary Letter was deemed to be unworthy because it had not accounted for the G30S. He did not deliver a speech. On 9 February 1967, the DPR declared that the President was endangering the nation through his leadership and ideological stance. It then asked for an MPRS Special Session to be held in March.
1968 Special Session
The 1968 MPRS Special Session officially consolidated Suharto's position by appointing him to the Presidency. The MPRS commissioned Suharto to continue stabilizing Indonesia's politics and to formulate a Five Year Plan for the economy.
The Special Session was assembled when it became obvious that Suharto was not going to be able to hold legislative elections on July 1968 as had been ordered by the 1966 MPRS General Session. During this Special Session, the MPRS also commissioned Suharto to hold elections by 5 July 1971.
1973 General Session
The 1973 General Session was the first MPR to be elected by the people. Its membership was increased to 920. and until 1999 it included members from Golkar
, the United Development Party
(PPP), the Indonesian Democratic Party
(PDI), ABRI (the military), as well as Regional Representatives.
For the first time, the President was required to deliver an Accountability Speech in which he would outline the achievements which he had accomplished during his five-year term and the way in which they fulfilled the GBHN which the MPR had set out.
In this General Session, the MPR passed resolutions that outlined the method of the election of the President and Vice President and decided on the relationship between the Governing Bodies in Indonesia — such as the MPRS, DPR, DPA, etc.). Suharto was elected to a second term as President, with Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX as Vice President.
1978 General Session
The 1978 General Session passed resolutions that included the integration of East Timor
as a province of Indonesia and commissioning Suharto to establish Pancasila
as the national ideology via an indoctrination process.
The session was noted for the mass walkout of PPP members when Suharto referred to religions as "streams of beliefs".
During this General Session, Suharto was elected to a third term as President, with Adam Malik as his Vice President.
1983 General Session
The 1983 General Session passed resolutions on the holding of a referendum
, as well giving Suharto the title of "Father of Development". He was elected to a fourth term, with Umar Wirahadikusumah
as Vice President.
1988 General Session
The 1988 General Session was marked by a reorganization of the MPR. Another faction, dubbed the Groups Faction. was added. Members of this faction are drawn from all walks of life and integrated into the factions of Golkar, PPP, and PDI.
This General Session was also noted for the furor over the nomination of Sudharmono as Vice President, which resulted in Brigadier General Ibrahim Saleh interrupting the General Session and PPP's Jaelani Naro nominating himself as Vice President before he was convinced to withdraw by Suharto. The latter was elected to a fifth term as President with Sudharmono as Vice President.
1993 General Session
The 1993 General Session was marked by another reorganization of the MPR, with membership being increased to 1,000
This General Session was noted for ABRI's preemptive nomination of Try Sutrisno
as Vice President. Although displeased, Suharto did not want an open conflict with ABRI and accepted Try as his Vice President. Suharto was elected to a sixth term.
1998 General Session
The 1998 General Session was held during the height of the Asian Financial Crisis
and the peak of pro-democratic movements in Suharto's regime. In an effort to restore security and stability, the MPR passed a resolution to give special powers to the President to ensure the success and security of development.
Suharto was elected to a seventh term, with BJ Habibie as Vice President
1998 Special Session
The 1998 Special Session was the first MPR assembly held after Suharto's resignation from the Presidency and fall from power in May 1998. Although it still consisted of politicians who had flourished during Suharto's regime, these MPR members were keen to distance themselves from Suharto and appeal to the reformist sentiments that were prevalent in Indonesia at the time.
During this Special Session, MPR revoked the special powers given to the President in the 1998 General Session and limited the number of terms of the President. The MPR also resolved to hold legislative elections in 1999, ordered a crackdown on corruption, collusion, and nepotism and revoked the resolution which had ordered the indoctrination of Pancasila in order to establish it as a national ideology.
1999 General Session
The 1999 General Session was the first MPR with "real" reform credentials. In another reorganization process, the membership was reduced to 700. with 500 DPR members, 135 Regional Representatives, and 65 Group Representatives.
During the General Session, the MPR recognized the referendum in East Timor and set a task force to amend the 1945 constitution. It also stipulated that it would thenceforth hold annual sessions to receive reports from the President, DPR, the State Audit Board (BPK), DPA, and the Supreme Court. After receiving these annual reports, the MPR would then work to give recommendations on the course of action that the President could take.
For the first time, the MPR rejected a President's accountability speech, and Presidential and Vice Presidential elections were held with more than one person competing.
During the General Session, Abdurrahman Wahid was elected President, with Megawati Sukarnoputri as Vice President.
2000 Annual Session
The 2000 Annual Session continued the reform process. The MPR separated the TNI
from the National Police and defined their roles. It also passed resolutions on the consolidation of National Unity and recommendations regarding the execution of Regional Autonomy.
2001 Special Session
The 2001 Special Session assembled after President Wahid was allegedly involved in a corruption case and after the DPR began claiming that Wahid's leadership had become incompetent. Originally scheduled for August 2001, the Special Session was brought forward to July 2001. It then removed Wahid from the Presidency and elected Megawati as President and Hamzah Haz
as Vice President.
2001 Annual Session
2002 Annual Session
The 2002 Annual Session continued the constitutional amendment process, most notably changing the system of presidential elections, abolishing the DPA and requiring that 20 percent of the national budget be allocated for education, It also order the formulation of the Constitutional Court by 17 August 2003.
2003 Annual Session
The 2003 Annual Session focused on the legal status of the previous resolutions that the MPR and the MPRS had passed, as well as deciding on the composition of a Constitutional Commission.
The 2003 Annual Session also outlined the MPR's new status, which would come into effect with the inauguration of the new President in 2004. With the President and Vice President thenceforth elected directly by the people and with the constitutional amendments which the MPR had worked on from 1999 to 2002, the MPR's power was reduced. It would no longer be the highest governing body but would stand on equal terms with the DPR, BPK, the Supreme Court, and the Constitutional Court. In dealing with the President and Vice President, the MPR would be responsible for the inauguration ceremony and, should the occasion call for it, the impeachment of the President or Vice President, or both. The MPR would elect a President and Vice President only if both positions were vacant.
2004 Annual Session
During this session, the MPR heard its last accountability speech by a President.
List of Chairman