Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle

Published 24th March, 2014

The Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle or PDI-P was originally founded in 1973 as a merger of three nationalist and two Christian parties as part of the consolidation process undertaken by President Suharto. The party in those days was known as the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) and won on average 40 to 50 seats, always coming third or second to President Suharto’s Party of the Functional Groups or Golkar.

The party divided into two factions in 1996, the one supporting Megawati Sukarnoputri and the other Suryadi a former Chairperson of the party. Megawati’s faction was not recognised in the 1997 legislative elections so she established the PDI-P. The party bases its ideology on Pancasila which has five key strands, belief in the divinity of God, a just and civilized humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy and social justice.

The divisions in the old party and the way in which Megawati’s faction was blocked in the 1997 elections both raised the party profile and garnered some sympathetic support. Enough support that the party emerged as the largest party in the 1999 general election, taking 153 of the 462 seats in the People’s Representative Council.

Although Megawati Sukarnoputri lost out to Abdurrahman Wahid in the October 1999 presidential selection, she was subsequently made Vice-President and, when Wahid was forced from office Megawati Sukarnoputri became the new President on 23rd July 2001.

The next three years were not a huge success. There were splits in the party and in 2004 Megawati was not able to win the presidential election and the PDI-P dropped to 109 seats with support falling from 33.7% to 18.5%.

The decline of the party has continued as it holds on to Megawati Sukarnoputri as its leader. She lost the 2009 presidential election, managing just 26.79% of the vote and the party dropped to 94 seats in the legislative elections, putting them in third place with 16.79% support.

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