Indonesian Democratic Party
The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was one of the two state-approved parties during the New Order
New Order (Indonesia)
The New Order is the term coined by former Indonesian President Suharto to characterize his regime as he came to power in 1966. Suharto used this term to contrast his rule with that of his predecessor, Sukarno...

 era of the late 20th-century in Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...



Ten political parties participated in the 1971 legislative elections
Indonesian legislative election, 1971
Indonesia's second legislative election, and the first under the New Order regime, was held on July 3, 1971. There were 10 participants; 9 political parties and the "functional group" Golkar.-Background:...

, a number that President Suharto considered to be too much. Suharto wished that political parties be reduced to just two or three and that the parties should be grouped based on their programs.

The basis for the merger that would result in the birth of PDI was a coalition of the five Nationalist and non-Islamic Parties in the People's Representative Council
People's Representative Council
The People's Representative Council , sometimes referred to as the House of Representatives, is one of two elected national legislative assemblies in Indonesia....

 (DPR) called the Democracy Development Faction. This faction consisted of the Indonesian National Party
Indonesian National Party
The Indonesian National Party is the same used by several political parties in Indonesia from 1927 until the present day.-Pre-independence:...

 (PNI), the League of the Supporters of Indonesian Independence (IPKI), Murba Party
Murba Party
Murba Party was a 'national communist' political party in Indonesia. The party was founded by Tan Malaka's followers in 1948. The history of the party was largely intertwined with that of the powerful Communist Party of Indonesia . Initially relations between PKI and the Murba Party were fluid,...

 (Partai Murba), the Indonesian Christian Party (Parkindo), Catholic Party
Catholic Party (Indonesia)
Catholic Party had been a political party for Indonesia's Catholics from colonial times to the 1970s. In 1967 members were involved in debates concerning religious freedom in the New Order and the influence of missionaries on the nation. In the following decade it merged with other parties to form...

 (Partai Katolik).

On the 10th January 1973, as part of Suharto's program to reduce political parties, these five parties were merged to form PDI.


The PNI, the largest of the PDI's five parties, and the legatee of Sukarno, had its base in East and Central Java. IPKI had been strongly anti-PKI in the Old Order in contrast to the once-leftist Partai Murba. Even more heterogeneous than the United Development Party
United Development Party
The United Development Party , sometimes translated as Development Unity Party is a political party in Indonesia. It is an islamic party and currently led by Suryadharma Ali.-Origins:...

 (PPP), the PDI, with no common ideological link other than the commitment to the Pancasila
Pancasila Indonesia
Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "pañca" meaning five, and "sīla" meaning principles...

 as its sole principle, was faction-ridden and riven with personality disputes.

This factionalism was displayed in the 1977 Legislative Elections, the first Legislative Elections that PDI participated in. The Party was unable to show a united front and would come
third and last in the 1977 Legislative Elections.

Government Intervention

The 1977 Legislative Elections would also see a tense political battle between Golkar
The Party of the Functional Groups is a political party in Indonesia. It is also known as Sekber Golkar . It was the ruling party during Suharto's regime...

 and PPP. The Government became worried that with PDI struggling to function as a party, Indonesian society would be polarized into a secular camp (Golkar) and an Islamic camp (PPP). To counter this, the Government decided to actively intervene into PDI's affairs and make it into a 3rd Party to prevent the polarization that it feared.

Measures were taken by the Government to keep PDI going as a Party which at one time involved the Minister of Home Affairs to arrange PDI's Congresses for them. Efforts were also made to encourage PDI, such as refurbishing the tomb of the late President Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

 in 1978 and officially recognizing him as the "Hero of Independence Proclamation". This recognition of Sukarno was a change from the earlier New Order policy of playing down his achievements or ignoring him altogether.

PDI in New Order

Until Suharto's fall in 1998, PDI played the role of the smallest Political Party in Indonesia. Despite playing up its Sukarnoist heritage when campaigning, PDI continued to come last in the Legislative Elections.

Schism with Megawati Sukarnoputri

At the 1993 National Congress, Megawati Sukarnoputri
Megawati Sukarnoputri
In this Indonesian name, the name "Sukarnoputri" is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name "Megawati"....

 was elected as the Chairperson of PDI to replace Suryadi. The Government refused to recognize this and continued to push for Budi Harjono, their candidate for the Chairpersonship to be elected. A Special Congress was held where the Government expected to have Harjono elected, but Megawati once again emerged victorious. The victory was consolidated when a PDI National Assembly ratified the results of the Congress.

In June 1996, the Government finally made their move. Another National Congress was held in Medan
- Demography :The city is Indonesia's fourth most populous after Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, and Indonesia's largest city outside of Java island. Much of the population lies outside its city limits, especially in Deli Serdang....

, where Megawati was not invited to come along and attended by anti-Megawati members. With the Government's backing, Suryadi was re-elected as PDI's Chairperson. Megawati refused to acknowledge the results of this congress and continued to see herself as the rightful leader of PDI.

Suryadi began threatening to take back PDI's Headquarters in Jakarta. This threat came true during the morning of 27 July 1996. That morning, Suryadi's supporters (reportedly with the Government's backing) attacked the PDI Headquarters and faced resistance from Megawati supporters who had been stationed there ever since the National Congress in Medan. In the ensuing fight, Megawati's supporters managed to hold on to the headquarters.

A riot then ensued, followed by a crackdown by the Government. The Government would later blame the riots on the People's Democracy Party (PRD).

PDI was now divided into two factions, Megawati's faction and Suryadi's faction. In the 1997 Legislative Elections, Mega and her faction threw their votes behind PPP while PDI languished with only 3% of the votes.

In October 1998, after Suharto's fall, Megawati declared the formation of Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle
Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle
The Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle is an Indonesian political party. It is led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Indonesian independence leader and first president Sukarno. Megawati was President of Indonesia from 2001 to 2004...

 (PDI-P) to differentiate her faction of PDI from the Government backed one.

1999 Legislative elections and aftermath

PDI participated in the 1999 legislative elections
Indonesian legislative election, 1999
The Indonesian legislative election, 1999, held on June 7, 1999, was the first election since the end of the New Order and the first free election in Indonesia since 1955. With the ending of restrictions on political activity following the fall of Suharto, a total of 48 parties contested the 462...

 and won two seats, but refused to ratify the election results. This was not enough to pass the electoral threshold to allow the party to participate in the following elections in 2004
Indonesian legislative election, 2004
Indonesia held legislative elections on 5 April 2004 for both houses of the People's Consultative Assembly, the country's national legislature...

. After failing to join with other parties to reach the threshold, the party renamed itself the Indonesian Democratic Vanguard Party
Indonesian Democratic Vanguard Party
The Indonesian Democratic Vanguard Party is a political party in Indonesia.At the last legislative elections, 5 April 2004, the party won 0.8% of the popular vote and 1 out of 550 seats....


  • Mohammad Isnaeni (1973–1986)
  • Suryadi (1986–1993)
  • Megawati Sukarnoputri (1993–1996)
  • Suryadi (1996–1998)
  • Budi Harjono (1998–1999)
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