List of regencies and cities of Indonesia

This is the list of regencies and cities of Indonesia. Both regencies and cities are second-level administrative subdivision in Indonesia, immediately below the provinces, and above the districts. They are roughly equivalent to American counties.[1]

In Indonesia, both regency and city are at the same administration level, each having their own local government and legislative body. The difference between a regency and a city lies in demography, size, and economy. Generally, a regency comprises a rural area larger than a city. A city usually has non-agricultural economic activities.

A regency (Indonesian: kabupaten) is headed by a regent, known locally as bupati, while a city (Indonesian: kota) is headed by a mayor (walikota). All regents, mayors, and members of legislatures are directly elected via elections to serve for a five year term which can be renewed once. Each regency or city is divided further into districts more commonly known as kecamatan, or distrik in Papua.

An administrative city is a city without its own local legislatures (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah). The mayor of an administrative city is directly appointed by the Governor. This type of city in Indonesia is only found in Jakarta which consisted of 5 administrative cities and 1 administrative regency.

Following the implementation of decentralization beginning on 1 January 2001, regencies and municipalities became the key administrative units responsible for providing most governmental services.[2]

The list below groups regencies and cities in Indonesia by provinces. Each regency has an administrative centre, the regency seat.[3]

Description

Origin of "regency"

Portrait of a Javanese regent in gala uniform (circa 1900).

A regency (Indonesian: kabupaten) is a political subdivision of a province in Indonesia. The Indonesian term kabupaten is also sometimes translated as "municipality". Regencies and cities are divided into subdistricts (Kecamatan).

The English name "regency" comes from the Dutch colonial period, when regencies were ruled by bupati (or regents) and were known as regentschap (kabupaten in Javanese and subsequently Indonesian). Bupati had been regional lords under the pre-colonial monarchies of Java. When the Dutch abolished or curtailed those monarchies, the bupati were left as the most senior indigenous authority. They were not strictly speaking "native rulers" because the Dutch claimed full sovereignty over their territory, but in practice they had many of the attributes of petty kings (including elaborate regalia and palaces, and a high degree of impunity).

Etymology

The Indonesian title of bupati is originally a loanword from Sanskrit originating in India, a shortening of the Sanskrit title bhumi-pati, (bhumi, भूमि, "(of the) land" + pati, पति, "lord", hence bhumi-pati, "lord of the land"). In Indonesia, bupati was originally used as a Javanese title for regional rulers in precolonial kingdoms, its first recorded usage being in a Telaga Batu inscription during the Sriwijaya period in which bhupati is mentioned among the titles of local rulers who paid allegiance to Sriwijaya's kings.[4] Related titles which were also used in precolonial Indonesia are adipati ("duke") and senapati ("lord of the Army", or "general").

Pre-Independence Period

Regencies in Java territorial units were grouped together into Residencies headed by exclusively European Residents. This term hinted that the Residents had a quasi-diplomatic status in relation to the bupati (and indeed they had such a relationship with the native rulers who continued to prevail in much of Indonesia outside Java), but in practice the bupati had to follow Dutch instructions on any matter of concern to the colonial authorities.

The relationship between those sides was ambivalent: while legal and military power rested with the Dutch government (or, for a long time, with the Dutch East India Company (commonly known as the VOC, an abbreviation of the Dutch Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) under a Governor General in Batavia on Java, the regents held higher protocollary rank than the white officials who supposedly advised them and held day-to-day sway over the population. After the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the terms bupati and kabupaten were applied throughout the archipelago to the administrative unit below the residency (karesidenan).

Recent history

Since the start of the Reform Era in 1998 a remarkable secession of district governments has arisen in Indonesia. This process has become known as pemekaran ("secession"). Following the surge of support for decentralisation across Indonesia which occurred following the end of the Soeharto era in 1998, key new decentralisation laws were passed in 1999. Subsequently, there was a jump in the number of regencies (and cities) from around 300 at the end of 1998 to over 490 in 2008 ten years later. This secession of new regencies, welcome at first, has become increasingly controversial within Indonesia because the administrative fragmentation has proved costly and has not brought the hoped-for benefits.

Senior levels of the administration have expressed a general feeling that the process of pemekaran now needs to be slowed down (or even stopped for the time being) but local politicians at various levels across government in Indonesia continue to express strong populist support for the continued creation of new regencies.[5]

Since 1998, a large portion of governance have been delegated from central government in Jakarta to local regencies, with regencies now playing important role in providing services to Indonesian people.[6] Direct elections for regents and mayors began in 2005, with the leaders previously being elected by local legislative councils.[7]

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