chapter  2
The Indonesian legislature and its impact on democratic consolidation
Pages 20

Since the start of the reform era in 1998, the Indonesian legislature (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR) has gradually become one of the key actors of political decision-making in the archipelago. However, the debate in the DPR on fuel prices in March 2005 illustrated its persistent shortcomings. At that time, the Indonesian government led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a hike in domestic fuel prices by an average of 29 per cent. Many factions in the DPR criticized the government’s policy, expressing the popular demand to stop the fuel price hike. A brawl among legislators ended the second day of the plenary session, ‘leaving the public disgusted by the immaturity of their representatives’ (The Jakarta Post Online, 17 March 2005). Those who disagreed with the government’s fuel policy, particularly from the PDI-P opposition, started bombarding the DPR leaders with objections and complained that the plenary session leaders were not taking into account the objections expressed by their faction.