Fiesta Indonesia

The presidential election in Indonesia was held yesterday, July 9. The final result is "almost certain" that Joko Widodo is the next Indonesia's Commander-in-Chief, as concluded by numerous quick count agencies' poll analysis reports, not long after the ballot booths closes and the on-site tabulation process finishes. Joko Widodo, a popular ex-Mayor of Solo and current Governor of DKI Jakarta---widely known as Jokowi---will be in office for the next five years of administration. (Read: Indonesian elections 2014: Unofficial results show Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo leading Prabowo Subianto in presidential vote). 

As a significant national agenda, the government declares this date as a national holiday in order to provide maximum experience for everyone involved in this occurence. Unfortunately, the election process in Indonesia is yet to be automatic since its very beginning. Voters now and then have to manually perforate the ballot and it will take weeks for the counting to be completed. The official vote count, made available by the Komisi Pemilihan Umum Republik Indonesia, the National Election Commission, are scheduled to be released officially on July 22.

This 2014 Presidential Election is noticeable in comparison to previous legislative election held earlier this year. In fact, some analysts predicts that the rate of voter's participation are higher than the previous presidential election in 2009. This nation-wide activity has attracted most of Indonesians around the globe whom are eligible to vote, and brought the international attentions as well. This particular politics event is what Indonesians refers to as a Pesta Demokrasi, the Democracy Fiesta.

A fiesta, a party, perhaps sounds a little misplaced due to the context it carries.

This term, Pesta Demokrasi, can be traced back as early as 1955 when people of Indonesia conducting their first election after ten years of independence, to vote for the parliament. At the time, people only voting for the legislative members. The voted parliament members, formed by several political parties, were expected to produce constitution for a decade-old country.

1955 Indonesian Election Posters.png

The nation's history later shows that at the time of election of 1955, people are said to be excited, full of hopes and dreams for a better future life, with the ongoing election. People are seen to flocked the streets and alleyways to get to the nearest polling stations at their neighborhood, all across the archipelago. Back then, the nature of this event were recognized as an important event. Therefore they went to poll stations wearing their best formal clothes available.

Neatly tucked shirt and trousers with peci, a Malay cap, for men, while women in their kebaya, were acknowledge as the attires for major events only, such as attending receptions (e.g., weddings) or pesta (Indonesian word for party, fiesta)

The polling stations were built outside, under canopies, on an open areas designated only for the event. Men and women in their best appearances were gathering in to submit ballot. Seen as a whole, this gathering atmosphere--grownups in their best formal dress and enjoying themselves altogether--resembles what they recalls as pesta is.

Soon the word pesta found new meaning. The word demokrasi, derived from democracy, was given next to it in order to define the context.

1955 Indonesian Election Sukarno.png

Since then, the term Pesta Demokrasi is always tied to election activities in Indonesia, both for national and local government, for either Head of State (Presiden/Gubernur/Walikota/Bupati), the House (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat/Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah) and/or the Senate (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah).

A party, a fiesta, is supposed to provide a certain joy, or fun, to all its participants. This Pesta Demokrasi should bring the elements of happiness and togetherness for Indonesia as a whole nation. This is the time when all citizens should mixed and assembled, despite their race, ethnicity, religious view, or alliance. On July 9, 2014, more than 180 million Indonesians has become great hosts of Pesta Demokrasi for each other.

July 9 onward, Indonesia is embracing great future to come, as a nation. Under the pledge of Pancasila, the true value inherited from the founding fathers, Indonesia is safe-guarding its diversity in unity with democracy. 

Adhy Langgar.
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Read more on Electoral Politics in Indonesia here (downloadable PDF file).