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Deepening Democracy in Indonesia?

Direct Elections for Local Leaders (Pilkada)

Maribeth Erb and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto

Publication Year: 2009

Since the fall of long-reigning President Soeharto, in 1998, Indonesia has been in an era of transition, away from an authoritarian regime, and on a “quest for democracy”. This quest started with decentralization laws implemented in 2001, which gave greater autonomy to the regions, and continued with the direct elections for the national and local legislatures and the President in 2004. The latest development in this democratization process is the implementation of a system for the direct election of regional leaders, which began in 2005; the first round of elections across the nation for all governors, mayors and district heads was completed in 2008. Authors of the chapters in this volume, the result of a workshop in Singapore in 2006, present data from across the archipelago for these first direct elections for local leaders and give their assessment as to how far these elections have contributed to a “deepening democracy”.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-ix

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xiii

List of Figures

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pp. xv-xvi

The Contributors

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pp. xvii-xviii

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pp. xix-xx

Most of the papers in this volume originated from a workshop conducted on 17–18 May 2006 at the National University of Singapore, entitled “Pilkada: Direct Elections, Democratization and Localization in Indonesia”. The workshop was organized by The Indonesian Studies Group, one of the study groups attached to the Asia Research Institute and the Faculty of Arts and ...


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pp. xxi-xxv

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pp. 1-37

The question of the vote, and its relationship to democracy, became especially pertinent in the opening years of the twenty-first century, when in the United States 2000 elections the popular vote was won by one person, and yet the election was won by someone else. This unlocked considerable discussion about the meaning of the vote, different systems of voting, and their ...

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2. PILKADA LANGSUNG: The First Step on the Long Road to a Dualistic Provincial and District Government

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pp. 38-49

One of the central characters in the Indonesian system of provincial and district (kabupaten) governments is the kepala daerah (head of an area/ region). The recent Law on Regional Government (No. 32/2004) stipulates that the kepala daerah be directly elected, a fundamental change in the Indonesian local political culture which will have many consequences, both ...

PART I: Political Parties, Politician Elites and the Voters

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3. POLITICAL PARTIES IN PILKADA: Some Problems for Democratic Consolidation

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pp. 53-73

On Saturday 29 April 2005, the city of Tuban, East Java province, was burned. A huge crowd consisting of more than 5,000 supporters of the defeated pilkada2 candidate went down to the street angry. The crowd destroyed and burned the local electoral commission’s (KPUD) office, district government offices and vehicles, and the pilkada winner’s property, including two luxury ...

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4. BATAM’S 2006 MAYORAL ELECTION: Weakened Political Parties and Intensified Power Struggle in Local Indonesia

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pp. 74-100

Since the 1998 collapse of Soeharto’s New Order regime, Indonesia has seen rapid and fundamental changes in its political institutions. Simultaneous processes of democratic reform and administrative decentralization have transformed the country’s once centralized, authoritarian political system into a more decentralized and democratic one. At the core of democratic ...

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5. THE RISING IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL NETWORKS IN INDONESIAN LOCAL POLITICS: An Analysis of District Government Head Elections in South Sulawesi in 2005

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pp. 101-124

In recent years, the initial enthusiasm for decentralization of political authority to the district level and its “democratizing” impact on entrenched political elites in Indonesia has been replaced by increasingly gloomy evaluations of the country’s devolution process. A growing number of both academic and donor accounts now tell the story of how the mode of state power that was ...

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pp. 125-146

Since mid-2002 (approximately one year after the implementation of Law No. 22/1999), discussions on decentralization and regional autonomy policies in Indonesia began to focus on the realities of so-called otonomi kebablasan (over-exaggerated autonomy) vs. otonomi setengah hati (halfhearted autonomy).1 Polemics on this issue started to penetrate upwards in ...

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7. ELECTING DISTRICT HEADS IN INDONESIA: Democratic Deepening or Elite Entrenchment?

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pp. 147-173

What are pilkada1 — direct regional and local government head elections — meant to achieve? What, for that matter, are any elections supposed to do and to mean to the participants? How do we know if the pilkada have been successful and how should we measure success? Should we be looking more closely at the candidate nomination process, the campaign, the voter turn-out ...

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8. GENDER AND REFORM IN INDONESIAN POLITICS: The Case of a Javanese Woman Bupati

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pp. 174-189

It is often stated that an important feature for the consolidation of democracy is the inclusion of the marginalized into the decision-making process; one of the marginalized groups often cited is women (Chusnul Mari’yah 2002; Haynes 2001, p. 10). Indeed, in the process of reform that started in Indonesia with the fall of Soeharto in 1998, the inclusion of women has been one of the ...

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9. PILKADA IN BANTUL DISTRICT: Incumbent, Populism and the Decline of Royal Power

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pp. 190-208

The year 2005 saw an increase in local political activities throughout Indonesia with the regions embarking on pilkada (pemilihan kepala daerah langsung) (direct elections of district heads). Although there have been criticisms of pilkada, such as the absence of independent candidates, the limited logistics, the lack of political socialization, the inexperience of regional electoral ...

PART II: Media and Campaigns: Comparing Local and National Elections

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10. POMP, PIETY, AND PERFORMANCE: Pilkada in Yogyakarta 2005

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pp. 211-228

Performance is an integral part of Indonesia’s election culture. National elections — from Indonesia’s first election in 1955, throughout the New Order, to Reformasi and the present — have always been marked by parades, fairs, and performances, by both performing artists and politicians themselves, as I have discussed elsewhere (Lindsay 2005, 2007). National election ...

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pp. 229-255

For most Indonesian citizens, the opportunity to elect not only their members of the national parliament and their president but also their local district heads has been one of the most tangible demonstrations of democratic reform made possible by the resignation of President Soeharto in May 1998 and the withering of his authoritarian “New Order”. Subsequent laws governing the ...

PART III: Conflict, Ethnicity, and Political Divisions

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12. AUTONOMY, DEMOCRACY, AND INTERNAL CONFLICT: The 2006 Gubernatorial Elections in Papua

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pp. 259-282

The first direct elections of local government chiefs in Indonesia, which began with a wave of 159 polls in June 2005, have highlighted the extraordinary complexity of post-Soeharto politics. The fall of the New Order regime in 1998 triggered an unprecedented process of deregulation and decentralization, ending more than three decades of enforced uniformity under Soeharto’s rule. ...

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pp. 283-302

On 12 April 2006 the National Court (Pengadilan Negeri) in the town of Ruteng, capital of Manggarai district, awarded a settlement of over 2 billion rupiah to two pairs of contestants from the 2005 electoral race for regent: Anton Bagul Dagur, who had been the incumbent, and his running mate, Pius Kandar, and Gabriel Thody Wajong and his running mate, Wilhelmus ...

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14. THE RETURN OF THE SULTAN? Power, Patronage, and Political Machines in “Post”-Conflict North Maluku

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pp. 303-326

Let me start with a snapshot of the Ternate monarch, Sultan Haji Mudaffar Shah II, in July 2005. The Sultan sat in the cool yellow reception room of his fading tropical palace, perched on the slopes of Gamalama volcano, with a breeze flowing in from the Maluku Sea. Elderly male servants in sarongs approached silently on their knees, as is the style in an Indonesian kraton ...

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pp. 327-351

The province of West Kalimantan is one of the most ethnically and religiously heterogeneous provinces in Indonesia. Apart from the Dayaks, Malays, and Chinese, the Madurese is one of the main ethnic groups in West Kalimantan. The Madurese were never a significant migrant group in numerical terms; however, they were highly visible because they lived separately from other ...

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16. BARE-CHESTED POLITICS IN CENTRAL SULAWESI: The Dynamics of Local Elections in a Post-conflict Region

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pp. 352-373

The 2005 pilkada (pilihan kepala daerah, or local head election) for the positions of bupati (regent) and wakil bupati (deputy regent) in the troubled Indonesian district of Poso were of vital importance for the future stability of the region and the reconciliation processes under way. Given the instrumental role of political and electoral mobilization as one of the features underpinning ...


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pp. 375-392

E-ISBN-13: 9789812308429
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812308412

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1

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Subject Headings

  • Local elections -- Indonesia.
  • Elections -- Indonesia.
  • Democracy -- Indonesia.
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