Local Political Elites in Indonesia: "Risers" and "Holdovers"
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 29, Number 2, July 2014
- pp. 364-407
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
Local political elites in post-Soeharto Indonesia have become increasingly diverse, challenging the dominant characterizations of them as leftovers of the old regime or political opportunists. Existing literature on Indonesia’s local politics tends to focus on top-tier elected officials, such as provincial governors, district regents and municipal mayors. Political elites and elite aspirants at intermediate and lower levels of governance have received less attention. Field-study data collected in Pontianak, the regional capital of West Kalimantan, serves as the basis for analysis of the changing profiles of local elites and elite aspirants and for scrutiny of their efforts and tactics to acquire and retain power. The analysis demonstrates that local political elites in Indonesia consist not only of "holdovers" from the New Order era, but also new and diverse "risers". "Old" elites remain, as some survived the political transition and as young generations have inherited the resources and constituencies of their forbears. But at the same time "new" elites have entered the local political scene from various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds by taking advantage of new opportunities, resources and strategies. This local political diversification does not, however, necessarily indicate the level of the country’s democratic maturity.