Subdivisions of Indonesia

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Indonesia is divided into provinces (Indonesian: Provinsi). Provinces are made up of regencies and cities. Province, regencies and cities have their own local governments and parliamentary bodies.

Since the enactment of Law Number 22 Year 1999 regarding Local Government[1] (the law was revised by Law Number 32 Year 2004[2]), local governments now play a greater role in administering their areas. Foreign policy, defense (including armed forces and national police), system of law, and monetary policy, however, remain the domain of the national government. Since 2005, heads of local government (governors, regents and mayors) have been directly elected by popular election.[3]


A province is headed by a governor. Each province has its own legislative body, called Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah (literally means "Regional People's Representatives Assembly"). Governors and representative members are elected by popular vote for five-year terms.

Indonesia is divided into 34 provinces.[4] Eight provinces have been created since 2000. Five provinces have special status:

  • Aceh (also known as Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (formerly: Aceh Special Region), has greater role in local government, which includes its own Islamic Sharia law (for Muslim citizens), flag and provincial anthem, local political parties are allowed, and decisions or laws made by the central government which directly affect Aceh's administration must be referred to the local government or legislative body.[5]
  • Yogyakarta Special Region. The Sultan of Yogyakarta is de facto governor of Yogyakarta since he is given priority when electing the governor. For centuries, the Sultanate of Yogyakarta has reigned in the region.[6] However, recently the central government proposed a law that required the governor to be popularly elected as in the other provinces, while still giving the sultan significant political power. The proposal is still under debate with objections from the people of Yogyakarta including the local legislative body and the sultan himself.[7][8][9]
  • Papua (formerly: Irian Jaya), since 2001 local government has a greater role, including use of its own flag and anthem of province, and the governor is required to be of Papuan origins.[citation needed]
  • West Papua (formerly: Irian Jaya Barat), has the same status as Papua.[citation needed]
  • Jakarta Special Capital Region, is the capital city of Indonesia. The Governor of Jakarta has the power to appoint and dismiss mayors and regent within the Jakarta Special Capital Region. The local government is allowed cooperate with other cities from other countries.[10]

Each province is divided into regencies and cities.

Provinces of Indonesia

Regency and City[edit]

Christian mission in Tana Toraja Regency, Netherlands colonial period.
picture credits : Tropenmuseum.

Regency ((Indonesian: Kabupaten) and city Indonesian: Kota), collectively known as "Daerah Tingkat II".[11] is a local level of government beneath that of a provincial level. However, they enjoy greater decentralization of affairs than the provincial body, such as provision of public schools and public health facilities.

Both regency and city are at the same level, having their own local government and legislative body. The difference between a regency and a City lies in differing demographics, size and economics.

Generally the regency has a larger area than the city, and the city has non-agricultural economic activities. A regency is headed by a regent (Indonesian: Bupati), and a city is headed by a mayor (Indonesian: Walikota). The Regent or mayor and members of representatives are elected by popular vote for a term of 5 years.

Each regency or city is divided into districts (Kecamatan).


A sub-district (Indonesian: Kecamatan) is an area within a regency or city. The head of a sub-district is known as a "Camat"'. Camats are civil servants, responsible to the regent (for regency) or to the mayor (for city).

In Papua Province and West Papua Province, this administrative level is translated as "(Indonesian: Distrik)", and is headed by a "Head of District" (Indonesian: Kepala Distrik).

Each district is divided into desa (village) or kelurahan. However in Aceh, Indonesia, a mukim is a subdivision of a district. A mukim contains some villages (gampong).

Village: Desa and Kelurahan[edit]

The next level is that of the Desa or Kelurahan. Both Desa and Kelurahan are the area within a district, however Desa enjoys greater local matters than Kelurahan does.


In Indonesian, as in English, village (desa) has rural connotations, in the context of Indonesian Government Administration, a Desa can be defined as a body which has authority over the local people in accordance with acknowledged local traditions of the area. Desa is headed by "Head of Desa" (Indonesian: Kepala Desa), who is elected by popular vote.

Most Indonesian villages use the term "desa". In some places, however, there are many other terms used, i.e.:


Though Desa and Kelurahan are part of a district, a Kelurahan has less autonomy than a Desa. A Kelurahan is headed by a "Lurah". Lurahs are civil servants, directly responsible to their Camat. A Kelurahan is part of Regency/City government bureaucracy.


Here is table showing number of current provinces, regencies and cities of Indonesia.[14]

Type (Indonesian) Type (English) Head of administration (Indonesian) Head of administration (English) Number
Provinsi Province Gubernur Governor 34
Kabupaten Regency Bupati Regent 405
Kota City Wali Kota Mayor 97
Kecamatan [in Papua and West Papua: Distrik] District Camat [in Papua and West Papua: Kepala Distrik] Head of District 6,543
Desa and Kelurahan Village Lurah/Kepala Desa Head of Village 75,244

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DTE 46 / August 2000: What is regional autonomy?". Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  2. ^ "UNDP Indonesia". 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  3. ^ "New Order-Style Elections for Indonesian Governors Get 2nd Look". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  4. ^ "INDONESIA MAP - 33 Maps of Indonesia Provinces - PETA INDONESIA". Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Offline". Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Provinces of Indonesia - Yogyakarta - Motto: Tut Wuri Handayani - Discover Indonesia Online". Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  7. ^ "Yogyakarta Debate Moves From Street to House". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  8. ^ "Wisdom Is Key in Yogyakarta's Status Controversy, Taufiq Kiemas". The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  9. ^ "Minister sticks to direct election for Yogyakarta governor". Antara News. 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  10. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook". Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ In other places, "dusun" is an administrative division form below "desa".
  13. ^ In other places, "kampung" is equal with "dusun", except in Bungo, Jambi.
  14. ^ "Data Wilayah - Kementerian Dalam Negeri - Republik Indonesia". Retrieved 2012-02-17.