Electing Leader Who Masters Indonesian Geopolitics

Bung Karno, in his opening speech at the 8th BAPERKI National Congress at the “Gelora Bung Karno” Sports Palace, on March 14 1963, said that a leader is not someone who appoints himself to be leader. A true leader, a leader, is the heart of the struggle.

This message from the First President of the Republic of Indonesia becomes relevant when we look at it in recent days. A number of people have run for leadership or been declared leaders in the context of the 2024 election cycle.

At the same time, Bung Karno’s statement emphasized the contextuality that leaders are ideal figures of hope.

Thus, this representation in the need for national leadership – including government leadership – requires strong mastery of knowledge, discipline, and reflects the character of the nation.

If we explore social theory (versus genetic theory), leaders must have a lot of flying experience. You have to be prepared, educated and formed, not just born.

There is a hope expressed to choose the best leader. According to the 10th century philosopher, Abu Hamid Al Ghazali, the best leader is “civilized and noble”.

Or we use the definition of an effective leader to this contemporary situation, as the 20th century writer, Peter F. Drucker, said, “Effective leadership is not about being clever at making speeches and creating an image to be liked; leadership is reflected in the results of his work, not his attributes.”

In recent days, in the early stages of the 2024 General Election constellation, there have been a number of political parties (political parties) rushing around to put together a coalition to present a figure as a national leader, so that we can choose.

These activities, however, are part of the expression of our hope to have the best “civilized and noble-hearted” leaders.

In this episode of choosing a leader, not only are there hopes, there are also demands.

This demand can be clear so that leaders conform to the (political) opinions we hold, or subtly accommodate our aspirations on behalf of the aspirations of the people.


Having Indonesian Geopolitical integrity

From there, social, political, economic and cultural strategies are realized. In Bung Karno’s terms – feelings. So this feeling becomes part of the nation’s strategic value elements.

Therefore, the national character that is accommodated in the figure of a leader like this, needs to be supported by a high level of statesmanship and professionalism, which is free from discriminatory biases and partial dichotomies. This is all for the sake of realizing the national ideals and goals of the Indonesian people.

But furthermore, for a leader capitalizing on intelligence, emotional control, even spirituality, or having capital on money – is not enough, but social capital is also needed.

This social capital includes, among other things, the people’s trust in their leaders, and the leaders’ honesty towards their people.

The integrity of national leadership in the plurality of Indonesian society requires leadership, patriotism, nationalism and hard work for its success during its term of office.

Also, a person’s ability as a leader, apart from having governmental abilities, also means having the ability to make decisions quickly, precisely and measurably.

These are the expectations and criteria for leaders that should appear in the ranks of figure candidates in the 2024 election.

This democratic party is not just any party that only chooses party pictures and photos of leadership candidates. The people also place their trust in the leader they choose.

So a leader is not just an elected leader, more basically, he must be able to lead good governance, namely managing resources into high quality resources based on government ethics.

These things in realizing good governance must be based on morals, ethics and the national paradigm of the Indonesian people, namely the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the Republic of Indonesia, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Archipelago Insight and National Resilience.


Democracy in Electing leaders

The democratic tradition that we have used – since the first election on 29 September 1955 until the 13th election on 14 February 2024 – is to elect and determine leaders.

This definition in determining leaders with Indonesian cultural traditions, is the concept of determining leaders so that they should not be far from the people they lead.

The goal is that every event that occurs in society is also recorded in its experience. In this decision, the appropriate person is asked for guidance, as well as suggestions for opinions regarding all problems that occur with the nephew’s child.

The decree of this leader, in Malay philosophy, reads: take precedence by a step, elevate by a branch, elevate by a day.

In line with this, the democratic tradition that we use is that choosing and appointing leaders is the chronology of the democratic party. This value system became stronger when Indonesia adopted a presidential system of government.

According to Arend, the presidential system of government is the head of government who is the direct result of the people’s choice, and changes on the basis of a fixed term of office (Arend Lijphart, Yale University Press, 1999).

The Indonesian constitution also strictly stipulates that the president and vice president are elected directly by the people and limits their term of office to five years. Then he may be re-elected only for one further term of office.

However, the national leadership period has not yet ended, and the election stages are still in progress, and who the presidential candidate (leader) will be is already being discussed.

Including a number of survey institutions beating the dance drums of figures of anyone who would be a presidential candidate (leader).

We must still remember that Indonesian cultural philosophy tells us that (potential) leaders must not stand on people’s pedestals. This means: a prospective leader has never or is not controlling other people’s rights for their own interests.

The goal is that in the future, after becoming a leader, he does not attach his life to his position so that he ignores the rights of other people.

(Prof. DR. Drs. Ermaya Suradinata, SH, MH, MSI, is the former Director General of Social and Political Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs, Chancellor of IPDN, Governor of Lemhannas RI, and currently the Expert Council for Geopolitics and Geostrategy of BPIP RI.)