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The Constitution of Indonesia



7 September 2012

This new book co-authored by Dr Simon Butt, examines the remarkable constitutional transition performed by Indonesia over the last 60 years.

The Constitution of Indonesia: A Contextual Analysis focuses on current constitutional debates, ranging from human rights to decentralisation, religious freedom and control of the economy.

"For decades, Indonesia's 1945 Constitution, the second shortest in the modern world, was used as an apologia by successive authoritarian regimes," Dr Butt asserts.

"A bare-bones text originally intended as a temporary measure, it did little beyond establish basic state organs, including a powerful presidency.

"It did not offer citizens real guarantees or protections.

"These weaknesses were ruthlessly exploited by the military-backed regime that President Soeharto headed from 1966 until his fall in 1998.

"The (first ever) amendments of the Constitution, which began the following year and were completed in 2002, changed all this.

"Enlarging and rethinking the Constitution, they ushered in a liberal democratic system based around human rights, an open society and separation of powers.

"These reforms also created a Constitutional Court that has provided Indonesia's first judicial forum for serious debate on the interpretation and application of the Constitution, as well as its first significant and easily-accessible body of detailed and reasoned judgements.

"Today, Indonesian constitutional law is rich, sophisticated and complex."


Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

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