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Indonesian politician


The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Indonesian politician
Was Politician
From Indonesia
Field Politics
Gender male
Birth 5 August 1900, Slogohimo, Indonesia
Death 15 October 1968, Jakarta, Indonesia (aged 68 years)
Star sign Leo
Politics Indonesian National Party
Leiden University
The details (from wikipedia)


Mr. Raden Mas Sartono (5 August 1900 – 15 October 1968) was an Indonesian politician and lawyer. He was the first Speaker of the People's Representative Council serving between 1950 and 1960, a minister in the first Indonesian cabinet, and a participant in the struggle for Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands.

Originating from Javanese noble family, Sartono studied law at Leiden University before returning to Indonesia and becoming a founding member of the Indonesian National Party (PNI). Throughout the 1930s, Sartono founded political parties Partindo and later Gerindo, temporarily leaving politics during the Japanese occupation period before rejoining the PNI after independence, becoming a state minister and joining the Central Indonesian National Committee. After 1949, Sartono became speaker of the People's Representative Council (DPR) throughout three iterations of the body – the People's Representative Council of the United States of Indonesia, the Provisional People's Representative Council, and the present DPR. He would remain as chairman until the body was dissolved by President Sukarno in 1960, serving in multiple occasions as acting president. After a five-year tenure in the presidential advisory body, he left politics in 1967 and died the following year.

Background and early life

Several Perhimpoenan Indonesia members. Left to right: Gunawan Mangunkusumo, Mohammad Hatta, Iwa Koesoemasoemantri, Sastromoeljono, and Sartono

Sartono was born in the town of Wonogiri, Central Java, on 5 August 1900. He was the second of seven children of Raden Mas (RM) Martodikarjo, a civil servant of the Mangkunegaran and a descendant of Mangkunegara II, while his mother was a descendant of Mangkunegara III. He enrolled at a Europeesche Lagere School (ELS, an elementary school equivalent of Dutch East Indies) in Surakarta in 1906 as there were no such schools in Wonogiri at the time, graduating in 1913 and continuing to a Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO, a junior high school equivalent) in Surakarta. He graduated from MULO in 1916, and continued his studies at the School tot Opleiding voor Inlandsche Rechtskundigen (later renamed Rechts School) in Batavia – a law institute for the native Indonesian nobility.

At Rechts School, Sartono joined the Tri Koro Dharmo, a youth organization of Budi Utomo which later evolved into Jong Java. He graduated from the school in 1921 (placing second in his class), and worked at the Surakarta district court for around six months. In September 1922, Sartono departed Indonesia to study for a doctorate in law at Leiden University in the Netherlands, along with his former classmate at Rechts School Iwa Koesoemasoemantri. During his studies there, he joined the Perhimpoenan Indonesia, where he was its secretary between 1922 and 1925. He returned to Indonesia in 1926.


Colonial period

After completing his studies, Sartono returned to the Indies and started a law practice in Bandung, which in 1928 set up a branch office in Batavia. During his career as a lawyer, Sartono defended Jasin, a train conductor from Tasikmalaya who was accused of being part of the 1926 communist revolt, and Jasin was eventually exiled to Digul in West New Guinea. Sartono later participated in the founding of the Indonesian National Party (PNI) at Bandung on 4 July 1927. Batavia's PNI branch would be located in Sartono's law office there. A year later, in the first PNI congress in Surabaya, Sartono gave a speech on the freedom of association and press. Following the 1929 PNI congress in Yogyakarta, Sartono was appointed as treasurer. Sartono was also the legal adviser during the second Indonesian youth congress on 1928 – which resulted in the Youth Pledge.

In 1930, the Dutch colonial government arrested four of PNI's leaders – who were sentenced to prison time. Sartono himself was not arrested, and instead he was one of Sukarno's defense lawyers during Sukarno's trials in Bandung. In 1931, he founded the Partindo after disbanding PNI. He led Partindo until 1933, when the released Sukarno was elected the party chief and Sartono became his deputy. During this period, he was an advocate for the Swadeshi movement (i.e. promoting the use of Indonesian-made goods) and also chaired a commission on the movement within Partindo. Prior to Sukarno's leadership, Partindo had also created a department for labor unions, which Sartono directly managed. Despite this, Sartono argued that labor unions should not engage in politics. After Sukarno's election as leader, however, Sukarno's view that labor unions should be associated with political parties became dominant – and in 1933 the party's official position became that labor unions must be based on political parties. Partindo was again disbanded in 1937, and Sartono further took part in the founding of another party, Gerindo, where he was deputy chief under Amir Syarifuddin.

Japanese occupation

Following the successful Japanese invasion of Indonesia, Sartono briefly left politics and handled rubber plantations in the Bogor region. He was also head of the organizational section of the Japan-founded labor organization PUTERA. In 1945, he was appointed as a member of the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPKI). For some time, he was also the adviser to the Japanese Department of Internal Affairs between December 1944 until June 1945.


Shortly after the proclamation of Indonesian independence, Sartono was appointed as one of five ministers of state (alongside Oto Iskandar di Nata, Mohammad Amir, Wahid Hasyim, and A.A. Maramis). Sartono and Maramis were dispatched to Central Java's traditional monarchies (the Surakarta Sunanate and Yogyakarta Sultanate) to give assurances that the monarchies would remain in exchange for support of the new nationalist government. On 19 August 1945, he took part in a meeting which resulted in the agreement to form the Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP). Sartono also rejoined the reformed Sukarno-led PNI. The party had significant internal issues due to personal and ideological differences of its members, with Mohammad Hatta remarking in an interview with Irish historian Benedict Anderson that Sartono and Abikusno Tjokrosujoso had internal conflicts "almost immediately". In December 1945, he became chief of the political department of a further restructured PNI.

Sartono was a member of the KNIP and was part of its leadership until October 1945, when the leadership was replaced by a new group of younger members. Later, he would return to the leadership positions, becoming deputy chair of the body's Working Committee (which ran day-to-day affairs) by January 1947. He was not elected for the position in April 1947, but was voted back in in July 1949. He left the body in 1949, as he joined the People's Representative Council of the United States of Indonesia (DPR-RIS).

He had been appointed as the head of a good offices mission to the State of East Indonesia in December 1948, but the mission was cancelled. During the Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference, Sartono was a general adviser.

Old Order

Sartono as the chairman of the People's Representative Council, 1956

Following the Dutch recognition of Indonesian sovereignty, Sartono joined DPR-RIS and was elected as its chairman on 21 February 1950 after defeating Mohammad Yamin and Albert Mangaratua Tambunan in the leadership vote, taking office the following day. Six months later, on 16 August, DPR-RIS was dissolved as the United States of Indonesia was transformed into an unitary state, and all its members became members of the Provisional People's Representative Council (DPRS). Sartono was again elected chairman of the body on its 19 August leadership vote. Sartono was appointed as formateur for the government cabinet on 28 March 1951, and he attempted to form a coalition government between PNI and Masyumi without success, with him returning his mandate after just 23 days on 18 April. This task was then assigned to Soekiman Wirjosandjojo and Sidik Djojosukarto – who managed to form the Sukiman Cabinet. In 1956, there were proposals in the parliament to dissolve the Netherlands-Indonesian Union. A draft law was brought up during a 28 February 1956 meeting of the body, and following a vote it was accepted as agenda in the day's meeting. Sartono, who disagreed with the draft's inclusion, declared his resignation from chairmanship and walked out of the building, followed by his deputy Arudji Kartawinata and the PNI faction. On 1 March, members of PNI, the Indonesian Islamic Union Party and the Indonesian Communist Party in addition to some members of the Nahdlatul Ulama submitted their resignations as members of the parliament.

Still in March, Sartono secured a seat representing Central Java in the new People's Representative Council (DPR) following the 1955 election. Members of the body were sworn in on 20 March 1950, with DPRS being dissolved, and Sartono was again elected as its chairman. As Mohammad Hatta resigned from his vice presidential position in 1956 (leaving it vacant until 1973), Sartono was legally second in the presidential line of succession, and he conducted presidential duties for three brief periods during his tenure - in December 1957, between 6 January and 21 February 1959, and between 21 April and 2 July 1959.

On 23 July 1959, following President Sukarno's 1959 Decree to return to the 1945 Constitution, Sartono was sworn again as the chairman of the further renewed DPR. DPR was eventually suspended by Sukarno on 24 June 1960 (though it met last on 5 March), ending Sartono's tenure as chairman. After the parliament was suspended, Sartono did not take public office for several years. Allegedly, he refused all positions offered to him, though in one occasion he implied to Subandrio that he would accept an ambassadorship for an African country – with the condition that Subandrio himself and Mohammad Yamin were both also assigned to similar positions. Eventually, he joined the Supreme Advisory Council (Dewan Pertimbangan Agung/DPA) as its vice chairman in 1962. Throughout his time in the parliament – and during his time at DPA – Sartono pushed with little success laws meant to strengthen the government's financial accountability. American scholar Daniel Lev wrote that Sartono's experience in the body "was a great disappointment to him".

Later life and death

Sartono eventually resigned from DPA and left politics in 1967. He died in Jakarta on 15 October 1968, and was buried in Surakarta.

The city government of Surakarta, alongside with the Mangkunegaran family foundation, have campaigned to make Sartono a National Hero of Indonesia. A street in the city of Malang is named after him.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 16 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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