The Government

The Government

President of the Republic of Indonesia Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia
Ir. H. Joko Widodo
Muhammad Jusuf Kalla


Pancasila, pronounced Panchaseela, is the philosophical basis of the Indonesian State. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, “Panca” meaning five, and “Sila” meaning principle. It comprises five inseparable and interrelated principles. They are:


Elaboration of the five principles is as follows:

  1. Belief in the One Supreme God

This principle of Pancasila reaffirms the Indonesian people’s belief that God does exist. It also implies that the Indonesian people believe in life after death. It emphasizes the pursuit of sacred values will lead the people to a better life in the hereafter. The principle is embodied in article 29, Section 1of the 1945 Constitution and reads: The state shall be based on the belief in the One and Only God.

  1. Just and Civilized Humanity

Just principle requires that human beings be treated with due regard to their dignity as God’s creatures. It emphasizes that the Indonesian people do not tolerate physical or spiritual oppression of human beings by their own people or by any other nation.

  1. The Unity of Indonesia

This principle embodies the concept of nationalism, of love for one’s nation and motherland. It envisages the need to always foster national unity and integrity. Pancasila Nationalism demands that Indonesians avoid feelings of superiority on ethnical grounds, for reasons of ancestry and colour of the skin. In 1928 Indonesian youth pledged to have one country, one nation and one language, while the Indonesian coat of arms enshrines the symbols of “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” which means “Unity in diversity”.

  1. Democracy Guided by the Inner Wisdom in the Unanimity Arising Out of Deliberations amongst Representatives

Pancasila democracy calls for decision-making through deliberations, or “musyawarah”, to reach a consensus, or mufakat. It is democracy that lives up to the principles of Pancasila. This implies that democratic right must always be exercised with a deep sense of responsibility to God Almighty according to one’s own conviction and religious belief, with respect for humanitarian values of man’s dignity and integrity, and with a view to preserving and strengthening national unity and the pursuit of social justice.

Thus, Pancasila Democracy means democracy based on the people’s sovereignty which is inspired by and integrated with other principles of Pancasila. This means that the use of democratic rights should always be in line with responsibility towards God Almighty according to the respective faith; uphold human values in line with human dignity; guarantee and strengthen national unity; and be aimed at realizing social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia.

  1. Social Justice for the Whole of the People of Indonesia

This principle calls for the equitable spread of welfare to the entire population, not in a static but in a dynamic progressive way. This means that all the country’s natural resources and the national potentials should be utilized for the greater possible good and happiness of the people.

Social justice implies protection of the weak. But protection should not deny their work. On the contrary, they should work according to their abilities and fields of activity. Protection should prevent willful treatment by the strong and ensure the rule of justice.

These are the sacred values of Pancasila which, as a cultural principle, should always be respected by every Indonesian because it is now the ideology of the state and the life philosophy of the Indonesian people.


The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia is usually referred to as the 1945 Constitution. This partly because the constitution was drafted and adopted in 1945 when the Republic was being established, and another to distinguish it from other constitutions which were introduced in free Indonesia.

Furthermore, the articles of the 1945 Constitution spell out the ideals and the goals for which independence was proclaimed on August 17, 1945, and defended thereafter. It reflects the spirit and vigor of the time when the constitution was shaped. It was inspired by the urge for unity and for the common goals and democracy built upon the age-old Indonesian concepts of gotong royong (mutual assistance), deliberations of representatives (musyawarah) and consensus (mufakat).

Since the reformation era, the 1945 Constitution has experienced some amendments for four times in the annual sessions of the Assembly of 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. All the amendments were based on topics covering sovereignty, authority of the People’s Consultative Assembly, direct election of the President and the Vice-President, term of office of President and Vice-President, discharge of President and Vice-President on posts, the replacement of President and Vice President amid the term by the Vice-President, executor of Presidential duties, the formation of the President Advisory Council and the elimination of the Supreme Advisory Council, the state ministries, the regional government, the establishment of the Regional Representative’s Council and its financial matters, the Audit Board, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Judicial Commission, Human Rights, the state defense and security, education and culture, national economies and social welfare, the state attributes, the amendment of the Constitution, transitional provision, and additional provision.

The most significant items being amended include sovereignty, direct election of President and Vice-President, term of office of President and Vice-President, and the formation of the Regional Representative’s Council, the establishment of the Constitutional Court, and the Judicial Commission, and Human Rights.

On sovereignty, the sovereignty is vested with the people and executed according to the Constitution. Originally, the sovereignty was vested in the people and executed fully by the People’s Consultative Assembly.

On direct election of president and vice-president, under the amended Constitution the people are being given the right to elect president and vice-president directly. Previously the president and vice-president were elected by members of the Assembly.

Regarding the term of office of the President and Vice-President, the amended Constitution regulates that the president and vice-president hold the fixed term of five years and eligible for another term was not concrete to arrange the frequency of the term.

The amended 1945 Constitution gives room for the formations of few state organs such as the Regional Representative’s Council, the Constitutional Court, and the Judicial Commission.

The Constitution also sets the formulation of the human rights in a separated chapter. It asserts that the responsibility for implementing protection, promotion, upholding, and fulfilling of human rights rests on the state, mainly the Government.

On education, the amended Constitution rules out that at least some 20 percent of the state budget and regional budget should be earmarked for education, by taking into consideration most part of the human resources belong to lower standards of education.

Preceded by a preamble, the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia consists of 37 articles, four transitional clauses and two additional provisions.



Indonesian coat of arms consists of a golden eagle, called “garuda” that is a figure from ancient Indonesian epics. It is also pictured on many temples from the 6th Century.

The eagle is a symbol of creative energy. It’s principal color, gold, suggests the greatness of the nation. The black color represents nature. There are 17 feathers on each wing, 8 on the tail and 45 on the neck. These figures stand for the date of Indonesia’s independence proclamation: 17 August 1945.

The motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity), is enshrined on a banner held in the eagle’s talons. Empu Tantular, asaint of the Majapahit Kingdom introduced this old Javanese motto, in the 15th century. It signifies the unity of the Indonesian people despite their diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

The shield symbolizes self-defense in struggle and protection of oneself. The red and white colors on the shield’s background denote the colors of the Indonesian national flag. The five symbols on shield represent the state philosophy of Pancasila, the foundation of the Indonesian state.

The bar across the center indicates the equator, which passes through the islands of Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Halmahera. This is a reminder of the fact that the Republic of Indonesia is the only tropical country in which the people have built a free and sovereign state by their own hands.

The golden star on the black background in the center of the shield represents the first priciple of Pancasila, belief in the One and Only God. The chain symbolizes successive human generations. The round links represent women and the square ones men. It is the symbol of the second principle, just and civilized humanity. The beringin, or banyan tree, symbolizes the third principle, the unity on Indonesia. The head of the banteng, or wild bull (Bos javanicus), which is black on a red background, represents the fourth principle, democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives. The fifth principle, social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia, is symbolized by the gold and white paddy and cotton ears.



The Indonesian national flag is called “Sang Saka Merah Putih”. As provided for in Articles 35 of the 1945 Constitution, the flag is made up of two colors, red on top of white. Its width is two-third of its length, or two meters by three meters. It is hoisted in front of the presidential palace, of government buildings and Indonesian missions abroad. The first flag was courageously flown amidst Japanese occupation forces on the day Indonesia’s independence was proclaimed. Since then it has been hoisted at Independence Day commemoration in front of the presidential palace in the capital city of Jakarta. This historical flag, or “bendera pusaka”, was flown for the last time on August 17th 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a replica woven of pure Indonesian silk.




The national anthem is “Indonesia Raya”, which means “Great Indonesia”. The song was composed in 1928. The colonial policy of the day was “divide and rule”. It was a policy that deliberately aggravated language, ethnic, cultural, and religious differences amongst the people.

The birth of Indonesia Raya marked the beginning of Indonesian nationalist movements. The song first introduced by its composer, Wage Rudolf Supratman, at the second All Indonesian Youth Congress on October 28th 1928 in Batavia, now known as Jakarta. It was the moment when Indonesian youth of different ethnic, language, religious, and cultural backgrounds resolutely pledged allegiance to:

  1. One native land, Indonesia;
  2. One nation, the Indonesian nation;
  3. One unifying language, the Indonesian language.

Soon the national song, which called for the unity of Indonesia, became popular. It was echoed at Indonesian political rallies, where people stood in solemn observance. The song seriously aroused national consciousness among the people throughout the archipelago Indonesia’s National Anthem.