Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Democracy and Incumbent Political Power Struggle for the Indonesian Regional Head Election

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Democracy and Incumbent Political Power Struggle for the Indonesian Regional Head Election

Article excerpt


The objective of this paper is to investigate the process of the local political practices that generate unflourishing democracy in power struggle of the incumbent. It addresses the political power of the incumbent in the domain of local democracy in the reform era of Takalar local election in 2007. The weak function of Election Supervisory Committee (PANWASLU) was highlighted and the position of the incumbent to remain in power struggle was identified. This paper reveals the causes of delays in the formation of Election Supervisory Committee, the dependency of the district election committee, and the utilization of the position and role of bureaucrats with the incumbent winning team. It can be implied that the direct election at the local level has not been in accordance with the norm of democracy. This paper uses a qualitative approach through case studies of the 2007 local elections in Takalar South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The samples were selected using a purposive sampling technique. The research was conducted in February, June, July and August 2012. Further research should be conducted on the incumbent whether to retain his position or otherwise in the next upcoming Regional Head Election.

Keywords: democracy, local election, political party, incumbent, election supervisory committee

1. Introduction

Political power through the practice of local democracy generates problems. Thus, this paper explains the position of the incumbent in the context of case studies of regional head elections. Before further discussion on this matter, the practices of incumbent power struggles that have been studied by many scholars previously were looked into. The study of democracy and political power by the Gordon and Landa (2009) found that the incumbent wants to fight back due to availability of resources, such as holding or so called discount campaign finance campaigns which are not available for the opponents. The support of the incumbent is useful to build the relationships in order to influence the interest groups or elites within a district or a county. Besides La Venia (2011) stated that as holders of political power, the incumbent has a lot of advantages to advance to the next general election. This reduces the impact of democratic values in the electoral process which can be considered as unfair to the challenger. Furthermore, the political parties were supposed to be able to win the power through elections.

After reviewing various works and studies, the position of the incumbent to the local level such as district or city state constitutional guarantees are given to officials who have the power to fight in the second period. The "room" to move forward in the next period is literally called the incumbent. Why would this be so critical and important to this study? This question is so important in order to look at the local level democratic arena that has been contaminated by various political practices that are used to achieve goals, particularly involving the incumbent. The intervention of political power debilitates the ggeneral election supervisory committee. Power control, played by civil society seemed unstoppable with the swiftsway incumbent power forward.

Democracy through direct election (PILKADA) marked the transition era of the new order from a centralized to decentralize process through local political level. Erb and Priyambudi (2009) stated that Indonesia, in 2004 has the experience for the first time to directly elect their national leaders and this is the initial momentum of democratization in Indonesia. The local Chief Election (Election) is a new aspect of democracy that is subsequently a transition to democracy. Democratization is the power of local communities to make decisions for the benefit of local and regional leaders through direct election. However, the domain of democracy in the local level has generated democracy decay everywhere. The first direct election in Indonesia began in June 2005. …

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