Half-hearted Reform: Electoral Institutions and the Struggle for Democracy in Indonesia

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - 240 pages
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King provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the reforms in the core institutions of democratic representation, political parties, elections, and legislatures that led the way from late 1998 through 2001. These reforms are placed in historical perspective, compared both with the electoral institutions of Suharto's New Order and with the first democratic election in 1955. King also examines the political struggles during the legislative process and identifies the compromises reached between hardliners and reformers. The new electoral policies are juxtaposed to actual practices--imlpementation--during the 1999 election at both the national and subnational levels, the latter through a case study in the heartland of Java.

The bases of voters' choice--election results--are explained using multivariate analysis. A key finding is that social-based voting has remained stronger than expected. King's analysis then considers the postelection, second wave of electoral reform that focused on the Electoral Commission and amendments to the Constitution. Lastly, King compares Indonesia's political reforms with those of the Philippines and Thailand. In sum, this book is indispensable to understanding the extent of Indonesia's political reforms, why the installation of electoral democracy succeeded, and the prospects for the consolidation of democracy. Of particular interst to scholars, students, and other researchers interested in political transitions in general and in Southeast Asia in particular.

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The Leading Role of Electoral Institutions in Democratization
Historical Background
The 1999 Electoral Reforms Debate and Design
Implementation of the 1999 Election
The Election in the Heartland of Java A Case Study
The Democratic Elections of 1955 and 1999 Similarities and Continuities
Social Influences on 1999 Voting Choices
Attempts to Consolidate Democracy
Indonesian Electoral Reform in Comparative Perspective

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Page 6 - Schumpeter (1950, p. 269) defined democracy in terms of electoral competition: "the democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people
Page 9 - Even in the midst of the tremendous uncertainty provoked by a regime transition, where constraints appear to be most relaxed and where a wide range of outcomes appears to be possible, the decisions made by various actors respond to and are conditioned by the types of socioeconomic structures and political institutions already present. These can be decisive in that they may either restrict or enhance the options available to different political actors attempting to construct democracy.
Page 4 - ... coddling of the Communists. Hence a growing political hysteria prepared the way, after the so-called coup of October 1, 1965, for the vast army-steered pogrom against the Left, in which half a million people were murdered and hundreds of thousands imprisoned under brutal conditions for many years. There is no need here to spend any time on the series of elections held regularly since 1971 by Suharto's New Order military regime. They are carefully managed to produce externally plausible two-thirds...
Page 13 - Robert A. Dahl, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971), pp.
Page 13 - Dilemmas of Democratization in Latin America," Comparative Politics 23 (October 1990): 1-21; Terry Lynn Karl and Philippe C.
Page 7 - If one wants to change the nature of a particular democracy, the electoral system is likely to be the most suitable and effective instrument for doing...
Page 6 - In addition to the elements of electoral democracy, [liberal democracy] requires, first, the absence of reserved domains of power for the military or other actors not accountable to the electorate, directly or indirectly. Second, in addition to the vertical accountability of rulers to the ruled (secured mainly through elections), it requires the horizontal accountability of officeholders to one another; this constrains executive power and so helps protect constitutionalism, legality, and the deliberative...
Page 42 - Belief in the One and Only God," "Just and Civilized Humanity,
Page 185 - If any generalization about institutional design is sustainable ... it is that majoritarian systems are ill-advised for countries with deep ethnic, regional, religious, or other emotional and polarizing divisions. Where cleavage groups are sharply defined and group identities (and intergroup insecurities and suspicions) deeply felt, the overriding imperative is to avoid broad and indefinite exclusion from power of any significant group.
Page 5 - Grundlagen verfügen mögen, nicht aber über „an arena of contestation sufficiently fair that the ruling party can be turned out of power

About the author (2003)

DWIGHT Y. KING is Professor of Political Science and Associate, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb. He is the author of Interest Groups and Political Linkage in Indonesia, 1800-1965.

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