The system of electing bupati changed in 2005 from a parliamentarian one where the bupati was elected by members of parliament to a direct election system (PILKADA) whereby the people in a district elect him directly. This new electoral system complemented the fiscal decentralization system implemented in 2001.
The new governance system should empower local governments with increased fiscal authority and political accountability to tackle the challenge of development in their regions. PILKADA establishes an important role for political parties to shape and direct development in their regions, since, according to Law No. 32/2004, PILKADA candidates must be selected and endorsed by one of the major political parties or a coalition of small political parties which have gained a minimum of 15 percent of the votes/seats in the local parliament.
However, in 2007, the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) passed a verdict which opened up the opportunity for candidates to run in elections without a political party nomination. The process of non-party side nominations later became known as the independent pathway (jalur independen).