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Indonesia: Village Government Bill

(Dec. 7, 2011) Indonesia has long been considering a law on village governance. The bill was dropped from the legislative agenda in 2009 for re-drafting and then was submitted anew in the national legislative program for the years 2009-2014, but has not been enacted. The purpose of the legislation is to improve the status of villages by such measures as ensuring that villages benefit from natural resources found within them and by increasing the number of village officials who are classified as civil servants. (Markus Junianto Sihaloho & Michelle Natalie, Thousands of Village Chiefs Plan Weeklong Protest at DPR, THE JAKARTA GLOBE (Dec. 5, 2011).)

Village chiefs have become impatient for the adoption of the village governance bill, and hundreds of them took part in a recent protest at the House of Representatives. They had said they would stay in Jakarta for a minimum of one week, to push the government to give priority to this bill. Sudir Santoso, Chairman of the Nusantara Village People's Association, said that the chiefs “want to meet with the leader of the House and the leaders of the nine factions to seek support.” Santoso added that those who do not support the bill will be boycotted in the 2014 elections. (Id. Note: the word “nusantara” refers to the Indonesia archipelago.) It was reported on December 6, 2011, however, that the village chiefs might end their demonstration early, as Gamawan Fauzi, the Home Affairs Minister, announced that the bill “has been finalized in the cabinet.” Fauzi added, “[i]f it is possible, I will ask the president to issue a Presidential mandate (Ampres) to discuss the bill next week.” (Arientha Primanita, Village Chiefs Might Go Home Soon, THE JAKARTA GLOBE (Dec. 6, 2011).)