National Unity in Indonesia: The Indonesian Constitutional Court’s Role in Balancing the Conflicting Legal Demands of a Pluralistic Society

David Price, Maria Salvatrice Randazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the dawn of the Reformasi era, the Indonesian nation cast off 35 years
of authoritarian rule to become one of the world’s largest democracies. The
processes of democratization and decentralization changed, and continues to
change, the constitutional landscape of the Indonesian State. With the emergence
of a much more complex constitutional landscape, the relations between center
and periphery need to be (re)balanced for a rational and equitable development
and sustainable management of Indonesian cultural, natural, and social heritage.
This paper analyzes the foundational role of the Indonesian Constitutional
Court in moderating and balancing the distribution and exercise of powers
between the central and the regional and between the regions themselves, within
a political, legal and religious pluralistic context in order to utilize the cultural,
natural, and social resources of the Indonesian archipelago in the interest of
national unity.

The paper examines the contribution of the Court as the peak judicial
authority in endeavoring to create harmonious relations within the complex
constitutional framework via a corpus of jurisprudence aimed at the progressive
realization of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (‘unity in diversity’) in the pluralistic
Indonesian Nation. It does so by analyzing selected crucial decisions of the Court
in three areas key to the Court’s role in balancing the conflicting legal demands
of a pluralistic society, namely, regional autonomy, religious pluralism, and social
justice and economic democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-146
Number of pages35
JournalNusantara
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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