in the Republic of Indonesia
The president of Indonesia holds the highest position in the government. As the head of state, the president is assisted by a vice president and various ministers. At the local level the president is assisted by the governor and other local leaders. Governance structures at the local level from highest to lowest are as follows:
Gubernur—who is the head of a province (33 provinces in Indonesia).
Camat—this position of authority is over a section within the “kabupaten” or “kotamadya,” called a “kecamatan,” and serves under the Bupati or Walikota. A “camat” can be translated as “a sub-district head.” A kecamatan is made up of several “kelurahan, or desa,” as described below.
Lurah/Kepala Desa (Kades)—this next lower authority has a responsibility over a “kelurahan,” or a “desa” (village). A “lurah” is a leader of a kelurahan and a “kades” (kepala desa) is a leader over a village. One major difference between the two is that the lurah is appointed to his position by the “camat” that is his supervisor. The lurah is a Pegawai Negreri Sipil (PNS–national public servant). Whereas the “kades” is voted on by the community of a given village, and they are not a PNS
Ketua Rukun Warga (RW)—this position of authority is a further breakdown of the “Camat,” and oversees between 10-15 “Ketua RT” (as noted below). “Ketua Rukun Warga” has the meaning of “Chairman, or elder of harmonious citizens.” The RW is chosen through the deliberation / discussion of all the RT’s in a given area.
Ketua Rukun Tetangga (RT)—this is the lowest level of governmental authority, and this position provides security and harmony among a local community. There could be around 60 families under the RT’s oversight. “Ketua Rukun Tetangga” could be translated as “chairman, or elder of harmonious neighbors.” An RT comes from the community of heads of households (Kepala Keluarga—KK), and is voted into their position by the people in the community.
*Information from Ade Marpaung