Legislative Institution Law, Indonesia

An op-ed in the Jakarta Post expresses concern (alarm?) over a new Legislative Institution Law, otherwise known as the MD3 Law, in Indonesia.

I do not have enough background to understand all the issues raised in the piece, but one thing stands out. The author is worried that this is an effort by the majority coalition, opposed to the president, to “weaken the Indonesian presidential system”.

Let’s be clear here, if the procedural aspects of the law really do empower a legislative majority that is opposed to this president, this doesn’t “weaken the Indonesian presidential system”, it strengthens it. A presidential system does not mean the president (necessarily) controls the legislature. It means the head of government is elected separately from the legislature and does not serve at the pleasure of the political majority. If the legislative majority asserts itself in dealing with the executive, that can be a good thing for institutionalization of presidential democracy.

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