By the Numbers: Indonesia’s Parliamentary Elections

The data driving Asia
Indonesians cast their votes April 9 in what was one of the world’s most complex single-day elections. This year marks the fourth time Indonesians have headed to the polls since the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. The General Election Commission faced the byzantine task of facilitating and monitoring voting in the world’s third most populous democracy, also known for its poor infrastructure. Past elections were plagued with problems in distributing voting stations, ballot boxes, and ballot papers to every district. We examine Indonesia’s parliamentary elections by the numbers:


The percentage of seats in parliament that unofficial vote samples indicate the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, won—a far smaller plurality than expected. Former president Suharto’s Golkar and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s Gerindra appear to have received about 15 and 12 percent, respectively.


The number of registered voters among Indonesia’s 250 million people. All votes are cast and counted in public on the same day.

A parliamentary ballot from the 2009 elections. Ballots in Indonesia fold out like newspapers and are filled with the names of hundreds of candidates competing for seats in the national, provincial, and district level legislatures. Source: Yudha P Sunandar’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.


The number of polling stations spread across the Indonesian archipelago. Days before the elections, 775 million ballot papers were shipped to voting stations, some of which are not accessible by car.


The number of candidates running for seats in the national, regional, and district-level legislatures. Indonesia has a highly decentralized political system.


The number of candidates that appear on a single ballot in Batang, a regency in central Java.


The number of active police and military personnel allowed to vote. As a result of Indonesia’s long history of military dominance in government during the Suharto era, one million active military, police personnel, and supporting civil servants are presently barred from voting.


The number of female candidates running for parliamentary seats at all levels of government. Women currently hold 18 percent of the 560 seats in the national legislature.


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