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(Apr 04, 2013) Indonesia's Constitutional Court ruled on March 28, 2013, that the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, or DPD) would have additional lawmaking authority. According to the Chief Justice of the Court, Moh Mahfud, the DPD now has "the right to propose bills to be included in the national legislation program … , an authority that until now only resided with the House and the President." (MK Rules DPD Can Now Join Legislative Process, THE JAKARTA POST (Mar. 28, 2013).) Akil Mochtar, one of the other Constitutional Court judges, noted that the lawmaking power of the DPD would be limited to proposing legislation on relations between central and local governments. (Id.)

The DPD was created in 2001 through a constitutional amendment and under that document restricted to considering legislation on certain matters. The topics that can be considered include regional autonomy and how the central and local governments interact, both politically and financially; the formation, expansion, and merger of regional administrative units; and management of natural and economic resources. (Basic Facts: Government, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia: Washington DC website (last visited Apr. 1, 2013).)

The DPD's role had been merely to provide information to the national legislature. However, it sought judicial review of a 2009 law on the structure of all Indonesian legislative bodies, arguing that the DPD had not been given sufficient authority to promote the interests of the various regions of the country. The new Constitutional Court ruling is in response to this DPD initiative. (MK Rules DPD Can Now Join Legislative Process, supra; Law No. 27, 2009, Concerning the People's Consultative Assembly, the People's Representative Council, the Regional Representative Council, and the Regional House of Representatives [in Indonesian], Ministry of Home Affairs website.)

According to the website of the DPD, the decision finds that the provisions of the 2009 law on the DPD were inconsistent with the body's authority as intended in the Constitution. (Konsekuensi Putusan MK, Kinerja Anggota DPD RI, Wajib, Sewajib-wajibnya Harus Lebih [Consequences of the Constitutional Court Decision, the Authority of the Members of the DPD Should Be Increased], DPD website (Mar. 28, 2013).)

Irman Gusman, the speaker of the DPD, welcomed the Constitutional Court's decision, calling it an "historic day for our system of government." He added, "[o]ur main functions and roles have now been reinstated." (MK Rules DPD Can Now Join Legislative Process, supra.) DPD members plan to launch a public awareness campaign about the ruling. (Id.)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Constitution More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Indonesia More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 04/04/2013