Elections and Politics in Indonesia

Elections and Politics in Indonesia

Elections and Politics in Indonesia

Elections and Politics in Indonesia

Synopsis

An analysis of the 1999 Indonesian general election and subsequent presidential election in the context of Indonesian elections and politics. The book highlights major characteristics of Indonesian society and culture which affect electoral behaviour, namely ethnicity, regionalism and religion.

Excerpt

The 1999 general election in Indonesia and the presidential election following it are significant events in the history of the country. Being the first free and democratic general election for over thirty years, it has a profound impact on the whole region.

Similar to the approach adopted in my two earlier books on Golkar and Soeharto’s foreign policy — Military Ascendancy and Political Culture: a Study of Indonesia’s Golkar and Indonesia’s Foreign Policy under Suharto: Aspiring to International Leadership — this book has also employed the political culture approach. This approach has its weaknesses — it does not give sufficient attention to other important variables such as the economy. Nevertheless, I need a tool to interpret Indonesian elections and politics. This political culture approach helps me organize the information in a coherent manner to make it easy to understand. On the other hand, by doing this, I am running a risk of distortion and simplification.

Although this book focuses on the recent elections, there is the need to provide some framework and background. Major characteristics of Indonesian society and culture — ethnicity, regionalism, and religion — which affect electoral behaviour are highlighted. Also examined are the continuity and change in Islam as practised by Indonesians and their impact on the country’s politics.

The chapters are organized along the lines of political parties and general elections. Several past elections are briefly discussed in order to throw light on the most recent one. the results of the June 1999 general election are also examined and compared with . . .

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