Yeah, Seven Years after Soeharto

Party System Institutionalization in a New Democracy
Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 28, 2006
by Paige Johnson Tan

IT is often said, following Samuel Huntington, that it is not the first elections
after the fall of an authoritarian regime that matter; instead, the path to democracy is seen to be assured only after second elections have been completed. (1) Indonesia’s second post-Soeharto elections, both parliamentary and presidential,were held from April to September 2004. Furthermore,2005-2006 is witnessing the country’s first-ever direct elections for regional heads, governors, mayors, and regents. Can the country be seen finally to be firmly on the path to democracy? Is democracy now “the only game in town”?

This article examines what the performance of Indonesia’s political
parties seven years on from former authoritarian president Soeharto’s
resignation can tell us about politics in the country. The parties are
an important part of the political society envisioned by Juan Linz and
Alfred Stepan as forming one of the integral “arenas” of democratic
consolidation (1996). By using the party system institutionalizatio n
framework first developed by Scott Mainwaring and Timothy Scully in
Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America
(1995), the article analyses the degree to which the Indonesian party
system can be seen to be institutionalized, thus contributing to, as
Mainwaring and Scully found in Latin America (or not, in the case of
less institutionalized systems), democratization, and stable
governance. (2)

The article finds that, across Mainwaring and Scully’s criteria of
party system institutionalizatio n, Indonesia’s parties and party
system show a mixed score card, strengths and weaknesses mixing to
deprive the parties of legitimacy. On balance, the 2004 elections and
2005 regional elections represent a step towards further
deinstitutionalizat ion due to the primacy of personalities in the
direct elections of the president and the regional heads. Democracy
may indeed now be the only game in town, but its operation is likely
to be rocky. There is a silver lining, however; accountability has
been somewhat improved due to the electorate’s realization of its
power to reward and punish parties and political leaders.

Party System Institutionalizatio n and Democracy

In much of the literature on transitions from authoritarian rule, the
role of political parties is seen to be key. To Linz and Stepan, the
development of political parties is part of the development of
“political society”, by which they mean “that arena in which the
polity specifically arranges itself to contest the legitimate right to
exercise control over public power and the state apparatus”. (3) As
scholars recognize, often it is not the political parties which bring
down the old regime (this is typically brought about on the backs of
union members, human rights campaigners, and students, among others),
but it is to the political parties that one must look to observe the
kernel of democratic consolidation apparent in the transition from
authoritarian rule. Consolidation requires political parties to build
a new system of competition for political office (O’Donnell and
Schmitter 1986, pp. 57-58). O’Donnell and Schmitter see the founding
election as “provoking parties” into action for the “party is the
modern institution for structuring and aggregating individual
preferences” (ibid., p. 58). Observers of areas as diverse as Russia,
Portugal, and Chile have seen the role of parties as key to
understanding the progress (or lack thereof) of the transition.

This discussion builds primarily from Mainwaring and Scully’s 1995
volume on Latin America, Building Democratic Institutions: Party
Systems in Latin America. Mainwaring, working alone, has gone on to
develop further the ideas first presented in the 1995 study with his
1998 article, “Party Systems in the Third Wave”, and his 1999 book,
Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization: The
Case of Brazil. According to Mainwaring and Scully, past work on
parties and party systems has focused almost exclusively on Sartori’s
measures of the party system: the number of parties and the degree of
polarization (Sartori 1976). These are, to the authors, more relevant
to a discussion of Western European politics. Developing and developed
countries might well share features if evaluated based on the number
of parties. Why, then, do the political systems operate so
differently, the authors ask. To Mainwaring and Scully, the answer
lies in different degrees of party system institutionalizatio n.

For the authors, an institutionalized party system is one in which
there is stability in inter-party competition, parties have stable
roots in society, parties and elections are accepted as the legitimate
means to determine who governs, and party organizations have
relatively stable rules and structures (Mainwaring and Scully 1995, p.
1). Institutionalizatio n is not an either/or proposition. Rather,
institutionalizatio n is measured in degrees.

To Mainwaring and Scully, institutionalizatio n of the party system is
key, not so much as an end in itself, but for what a relative lack of
institutionalizatio n can tell us about a country. Historically,
holding politicians accountable has been difficult, legislatures weak,
and government legitimacy low in countries with weak parties and party
systems, such as Bolivia, Brazil, and Ecuador. In these systems,
“politics has a patrimonial flavour, as individual interest, political
party, and public good are fused” (ibid., p. 20).

Mainwaring and Scully use their framework to examine
institutionalizatio n across large swathes of time, in many countries
across several different discrete party systems. However, in his
volume on Brazil, Mainwaring mentions that “[f]rom the perspective of
party building, the first seven or eight years of democracy [the
administrations of Sarney and Collor] could hardly have been worse”
(Mainwaring 1999, p. 100). It is clear that dynamics are at work early
in a process of political change that set the norms and ground rules
for the new system. How this process has evolved in the first seven
years of Indonesia’s transition is the focus of this article.

Indonesia’s Parties and Elections: The 2004 “Year of Elections”

Indonesia experienced three sets of elections in 2004. The first, in
April, was for the country’s legislative bodies from the national to
the local level (pemilu). The second, in July, was for the national
presidency (pilpres), the first time the holder of this office would
be elected directly by the people. As no candidate scored over 50 per
cent of the vote in this July first round, a run-off election was held
in September 2004 between July’s top two finishers. The issues in the
campaigns, such as they were, focused primarily on eliminating
corruption, restoring higher levels of growth to the economy, and job

To discuss a few of the most salient features of the party system as
2004 began, the number of parties competing in the elections declined
from 48 in the 1999 elections to just 24. Six parties, the Partai
Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuanga n (Indonesian Democracy Party-Struggle,
or PDI-P), Partai Golkar (Functional Group Party, or Golkar), Partai
Kebangkitan Bangsa (National Awakening Party, or PKB), Partai
Persatuan Pembangunan (United Development Party, or PPP), Partai
Amanat Nasional (National Mandate Party, or PAN), and Partai Bulan
Bintang (Crescent Star Party, or PBB) qualified for the 2004 elections
based on their performance in the elections of 1999, earning more than
2 per cent of seats in the country’s parliament. (4) Other parties in
2004 represented splinters from the larger parties: for example,
Partai Nasional Banteng Kemerdekaan (Freedom Bull National Party, or
PNBK) from PDI-P, Partai Karya Peduli Bangsa (Concern for the Nation
Functional Group Party, or PKPB) from Golkar, and Partai Bintang
Reformasi (Reform Star Party, or PBR) from PPP. Still other parties
represented reworkings of parties that had tried in 1999, like the
Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (Prosperous Justice Party) which was the
renamed Partai Keadilan (Justice Party). The last category of party
competing in 2004 was the entirely new party, such as Sjahrir’s Partai
Perhimpunan Indonesia Baru (New Indonesia Alliance Party, or PIB).

Table 1 shows the results of the April 2004 parliamentary elections
paired with those from Indonesia’s first post-authoritarian elections
held in June 1999.

Commentary on the 2004 parliamentary elections frequently called
Partai Demokrat (Demokrat) and Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), two
parties that were seen to come out of nowhere to capture more than 7
per cent of the vote each, the “winners” of the vote. (5) According to
one observer, the parliamentary elections “ended the mandate of the
status quo political parties” (Tomagola 2004, p. 44). The Lower House
of parliament, the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR), would be occupied by
legislators, almost 70 per cent of whom were new to the body, leading
many to view the elections as a turning out of the old and an entering
of the new.

Not so fast, though. Most of those house members still come from the
old established political parties. In fact, the top four finishers in
the elections came from “the status quo political parties”. Golkar,
the party of the Soeharto era, led the polls with 21.6 per cent of the
vote and 128 seats. Golkar outperformed its rivals in 26 of the
country’s 32 provinces and, while the party’s vote share dropped
slightly from 1999, its seat total actually went up, from 120 to 128.
PDI-P placed second, but the depth of the party’s drop in support from
1999 is glaring: from 33.7 per cent of the vote, it fell to just 18.5
per cent in 2004. The party no longer was dominant in terms of
parliamentary seats either (with 109, or about one-fifth). Other large
parties, PKB, PPP, and PAN, also saw their national shares of the vote
decline, PPP and PKB by 2 to 2.5 per cent and PAN by about half a
point. PKS and Demokrat, the perceived “winners” of the elections,
nipped the big parties’ heels. PKS rose from just 1.4 per cent in 1999
to 7 per cent in 2004 and grabbed 45 seats, up from just seven in the
previous parliament. Demokrat did not exist in 1999. It captured 7.5
per cent of the vote nationwide and 57 seats. This turnaround caused
political observer Riswandha Imawan to label Golkar and PDI-P “lonely
winners” (Imawan 2004, p. 182). They had won the election
mathematically but probably had little to feel happy about.

Overall, 17 parties won seats in parliament, ten in the double digits
or more; this represented a slight shrinkage from 1999, when 21
parties scored representation at the national level. Still, more
parties today are players in the system. Party system scholars use a
measure called the effective number of parties to take the parties’
relative strengths as a way of weeding out the consequential from the
inconsequential parties and coming to a conclusion on the size of the
party system. This is done by squaring each party’s share of the vote,
summing the squares, and dividing one by the result. The effective
number of parties after the 2004 elections was 8.55, up strongly from
5.1 after 1999, confirming the dilution of the party system from 1999
to 2004.

Table 2 presents a different look at the dilution of the party system.
From an examination of the table, it is clear that the overall
strength of the big parties has been watered down somewhat (1955 is
included just for comparison as Indonesia’s only free elections before
1999). In 1999 almost 80 per cent of the vote went to the top four
parties; in 2004 that figure was just 59 per cent. In 1999 almost 90
per cent of the vote went to the top seven parties; in 2004 just 80
per cent of the vote was so concentrated.

But these parliamentary elections were not the only game to be played
in 2004. After the April parliamentary elections, parties scoring at
least 3 per cent of the seats in the DPR or 5 per cent of the vote in
the parliamentary elections were permitted to put up a candidate
pairing for the presidential- vice presidential contest to begin in
July 2004. After one candidate was ruled ineligible to stand on health
grounds (PKB’s Abdurrahman Wahid), five candidate pairs were cleared
to compete. Results from the two rounds of the presidential election
are presented in Table 3.

Into 2003, many believed that the presidential election was Megawati’s
to lose, though she was aware of the very real possibility that
incumbency could hurt her due to the need to make tough policy choices
when in office. Though her regime had not performed in stellar
fashion, it had at least restored stability to both politics and the
economy after the tumult of the 1998-2001 period. Megawati, though,
was unable or unwilling to move boldly forward in finding solutions to
the country’s many problems: corruption, rising prices, sluggish
growth, little foreign investment, and unemployment. Further, the
president was singularly incapable of communicating to the public what
efforts the government was in fact taking in these areas.

This left an opening which would be filled by Megawati’s former
coordinating minister for political and security affairs, Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono, commonly referred to by just his initials, SBY.
SBY’s candidacy developed a momentum, greatly helped by the Demokrats’
results in the parliamentary elections, and peaked at just the right
time to carry him through the two rounds of presidential elections.
The campaign’s strategy was brilliant as well. SBY ran against the
existing political parties. In the words of an official with the SBY
campaign: “We want to portray SBY as the people’s president, not as a
party president” (Far Eastern Economic Review, 8 July 2004). The
former general attracted votes because of his personality as much as
anything else. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
(NDI) Focus Groups found people liked the fact that SBY was “polite”,
“calm … [with] an authoritative bearing”, firm, and because he
appeared to have integrity (NDI 2004, p. 6). SBY was the first choice
of many voters and the second choice of both Golkar and PDI-P voters,
too. Interestingly, in Indonesia’s historically communalized politics
SBY was popular with both supporters of secular-nationalist parties
like Golkar and PDI-P as well as supporters of Islamic-leaning or
affiliated parties (NDI 2004, p. 8), throwing out of the window
notions that Indonesia’s politics were hopelessly polarized along
these lines.

It seems that a vote for SBY was cast as a vote for change. The
candidate campaigned with a simple message that he would work hard to
create a more “secure, just, and prosperous Indonesia”. In fact, SBY’s
landslide 60 per cent of the vote in the presidential election’s
second round could be seen as an overwhelming mandate for change. But,
again, not so fast. Many of those backing SBY’s candidacy were former
Golkar stalwarts, the pillars of the authoritarian Soeharto regime.
The new president himself is a former general. SBY campaigned
brilliantly selling honeyed words, serenity, and few concrete details.
Discussions the author conducted with SBY voters during the
presidential election’s first round suggested that those choosing SBY
expected him to save the nation’s politics and economy from the
country’s bickering and self-seeking politicians. Typically, the
election of a charismatic strongman would be seen to be antithetical
to party system institutionalizatio n as strongmen like De Gaulle,
Yeltsin, and Chavez typically seek to weaken existing political
parties. However, in Indonesia’s case, SBY has not proven to be a
party destroyer. Rather, the cautious, doctorate-holding former
general has built alliances with existing parties and his
vice-president has captured the leadership of the election-topping Golkar.

Regional Elections: 2005-2006

Since the parliamentary and presidential contests of 2004, Indonesia
has embarked on another election project. For the first time,
Indonesia’s regional heads, governors, regents, and mayors, are being
directly elected by the people (pilkada). The elections began in June
2005 and continue into 2006. As the terms of serving, appointed
regional heads expire in the future, direct elections will be held to
fill those slots as well. This is a game of consequence. With
Indonesia’s launching of its massive decentralization project in 2001,
these regional leaders have both more resources and wider authority.

As the regional election law was crafted in the party-dominated
national parliament, the parties assured a monopoly role for
themselves in contesting these local races. However, thus far, the
dynamic appears to be somewhat different from the national picture in
the regional races, a complex dance between the parties and
incumbents/local notables. The party centres were allowed a say in
candidate selection for the regional contests by the election law. In
some cases, the parties put forth their own candidates for office from
within the party structure. In other cases, though, the parties have
attempted to attract serving officials or those believed to have
pulled in the localities, due to ethnic, family, or financial
considerations, to run under a party banner. This changes the power
balance between party and candidate slightly and will be interesting
to observe over the coming years.

The elections were organized by local election commissions (KPUD);
this means a central repository of information on the whole panoply of
elections is lacking. Press reports covering the early rounds suggest
that turn-out was not as high as 2004’s contests in many areas,
perhaps 70 per cent and as low as 50 per cent in some places. Protests
(including the burning of a local election office) and allegations of
vote buying and other malfeasance have accompanied the polls in a
variety of areas, but, as at this writing, the polls seem to have gone
off relatively peacefully. There were further concerns that fraud
would be widespread due to the lack of monitors and press attention to
the contests. Instead, a wide variety of independent citizen groups
across the archipelago seem to have arisen to observe the vote process.

Party System Institutionalizatio n in Indonesia

During the preceding discussion, I have outlined a number of ways in
which Indonesia’s party system has changed from 1999 to 2005. New
parties have risen; some older ones have declined. The number of
parties competing in the system has grown smaller, as has the number
of parties achieving representation in parliament. Despite this, the
effective number of parties in the system has actually risen, as the
bulk of the vote has been dispersed among more parties. The
presidential and regional election contests have turned more on
personalities than parties. Now it is time to turn from this basic
discussion of the party system to a consideration of the degree of
institutionalizatio n apparent in the party system.

Stability in Inter-party Competition

Scholars examining party system institutionalizatio n look to
inter-party competition as providing a clue to the relative stability
or instability of the overall complex of party relationships and voter
preferences. Systems such as the United States’, in which the actual
number of swing voters is relatively small from election to election,
would be seen to provide a high degree of stability. (6) How does
Indonesia fare?

Traditionally, stability in inter-party competition is measured
through volatility from one election to the next. Volatility is simply
a measure of the degree of change in overall support for the political
parties in the system from one election to the next. (7) Parliamentary
election volatility (calculated by the vote) from 1999 to 2004 was
28.55; calculated by seats earned, the figure was 25.78. This is high
compared with established democracies such as the United States and
Switzerland, where figures in the range of four are common.
Indonesia’s volatility is just on par with other transitional
countries, however. Mainwaring lists volatility figures for Poland
(31.4) and the Czech Republic (29.2) during the 1990s (during the
early years of their transitions) that are quite close to Indonesia’s
current level of volatility (Mainwaring 1999, p. 29).

Clearly, the parties have not yet found their natural levels of
support (if they are ever to find these), and we will continue to
experience instability in inter-party competition for the foreseeable
future. Contributing particularly this time to Indonesia’s moderately
high level of volatility was the PDI-P’s dramatic 15-point downward
swing. (8) Golkar support too has fallen from the absurd levels it
achieved under Soeharto’s authoritarian regime (sometimes more than 90
per cent in areas of Eastern Indonesia) to the more moderate 20-30 per
cent range, scoring generally in the teens on the island of Java.

Beyond volatility, are there any other notes we might take of the
nature of inter-party competition since Soeharto fell? Deborah Norden
critiques classical party system theory’s emphasis on the number of
parties and ideological polarization and says that what is important
to examine in newer democracies is the nature of interparty
competition, whether that competition is collusive, combative, or
moderate (Norden 1998). Moderate competition, according to Norden, is
the most promising for democracy, as it prevents the rise of
extra-system movements attendant to collusive competition (because
significant interests may be unrepresented) and the chaos of combative
competition (in which defeating one’s rival is more important than the
survival of democracy itself). From the perspective of party system
institutionalizatio n, moderate competition would seem to offer
advantages as it would presage orderly change.

Overall, Indonesia’s system shows a mixture of collusive, combative,
and moderate features. In the legislature, party leaders seem to
collude to shepherd the business of parliament without transparency
(votes are rarely taken, and decisions are arrived at by faction
leader-driven consensus). Dan Slater finds “parties share power far
more than they fight over it”, with the parties acting like a cartel
(Slater 2004, p. 3). Party relations are also combative, as the
painful impeachment of Abdurrahman Wahid in 2001 showed, accompanied
by months of escalating demonstrations both for and against the
president with fears that the nation was headed towards civil war. But
party competition is also moderate.

From the rulelessness of the campaign in 1999 in which rules were
violated with impunity and sanctions rarely taken in most cases by
election supervisory bodies, the long list of election violations in
2004 (7,000 according to the election oversight body Panwaslu) could
actually represent a positive development. (9) These violations ranged
from the small (flyers where they were not supposed to be, involving
children in campaign activities) to the not-so-small (attempts to vote
twice, giving gifts or money to buy votes, intimidation of voters,
ballot officials pre-punching ballots). Perhaps, though, the
increasing attention to these violations and the penalties that were
handed down this time around were a case, as O’Donnell and Schmitter
observed likening transitions to a multi-layer chess game: “with
people challenging the rules on every move” but “becoming
progressively mesmerized by the drama they are participating in” and
“gradually … committed to playing more decorously and loyally to the
rules they themselves have elaborated” (O’Donnell and Schmitter 1986,
p. 66). Elections in 2004 were slightly more decorous play (evidencing
moderate competition) ; at least violations were more public, and there
was more pressure to act upon them.

To further understand the ways in which the parties compete, scholars
look to ideological distance, the parties’ differences of stance on
fundamental political or economic questions. According to this logic,
greater ideological distance presents opportunities for paralysing or
de-stabilizing inter-party competition. In Indonesia, ideology has
become less salient in 2004 and 2005 even from the low starting point
of 1999. At least in 1999, parties seemed to battle over whether they
were reformist or status quo. Others contended between Islam and
secularism or between different understandings of Islam (Indonesia’s
party streams, to which I return below). Today, the picture is muddier
as most parties have made alliances across these former ideological
chasms. On the parties’ platforms for the April 2004 parliamentary
elections, Habibie Center scholar Irman Lanti observed that the
“platforms were made only to complete the registration procedure in
KPU (the election commission)” , not as a genuine reflection of
programmatic intent (“Report on Discussion”, 2004, p. 22). Converts to
notionally secular-nationalist SBY’s presidential campaign included
the Islamic modernist PKS and PBB. In the campaigns for regional
elections in 2005, local expediency threw together parties that would
also seem to be ideological polar opposites. In West Sumatra, secular
PDI-P teamed with Islamic PBB to field a candidate. Elsewhere, it was
Islamic PKS with secular PKPI (Partai Kesatuan dan Persatuan
Indonesia). Ideological distance is not an important factor in
polarizing competition among Indonesia’s parties.

Stable Roots

Mainwaring and Scully look to parties having stable roots in the
population as providing stability to the party system. This is in a
sense related to stability in inter-party competition above. If
parties have consistent bases of voters on which to call from one
election to the next, inter-party competition will be more stable.

A method Mainwaring and Scully use to examine whether the parties have
stable roots in society is to look at the average age of parties
winning 10 per cent or more of the vote. This makes intuitive sense as
a measure since older parties would suggest more staying power and
thus more stable roots in society. For Indonesia, this is a rather
loaded measure, though, since only three parties topped 10 per cent of
the vote in 2004: Golkar (founded in 1964), PDI-P (a splinter of
Partai Demokrasi Indonesia, formed in 1973), and PKB (founded in
1998). (10) So, Indonesia’s relatively long-lived average age of 25.6
might speak poorly to the party system as a whole. If we looked at the
top seven parties, those with 6 per cent or more of the vote, though,
we still find an average age of 17.2 years (PPP [1973], PD [2003], PKS
[1998], PAN [1998]). This suggests that despite the new-hess of
Indonesia’s democracy the top-scoring parties are more rooted than
they might at first glance appear.

Rootedness might also be found by locating specific geographic areas
or socio-economic groups associated with the various political
parties. Parties that have roots in groups such as these can expect a
certain level of support from election to election, thus contributing
to the stability of the party system.

Table 4 presents a simple view of geographic rooting, drawing a
distinction between parties that do well on Java, (11) where a
majority of the country’s voters live and where ethnic Javanese
dominate, to those that do well off-Java. Java accounts for almost 62
per cent of Indonesia’s population but just 55 per cent of seats in
the county’s national legislature, the DPR. Those parties with a high
degree of Java dependence in 2004 include PKB with 87 per cent of its
support from Java, PDI-P with 71 per cent, and Partai Demokrat with 68
per cent. On the lower end of the scale, we find PAN with 60 per cent
of its support coming from Java and Golkar with just 52 per cent. From
these simple calculations, we can see that PKB and PDI-P are
Java-based political parties, while Golkar is an off-Java party.

Breakdowns of results from opinion polls in 2004 add further insight
to what we can observe from the Java/non-Java cleavage above. Voters
in rural areas, those with less education and lower incomes tended to
vote for Golkar, PDI-P, PPP, and PKB. In contrast, those in urban
areas, with more education and higher incomes tended to vote Demokrat,
PKS, or PAN in 2004 (LP3ES April 2004). So in terms of both geography,
Java/off-Java, as well as socio-economic characteristics, the parties
do indeed have different complexions.

Dwight King and colleagues also find important continuities in voting
from 1999 to 2004, with districts choosing similar parties or similar
types of parties from one election to the next (King et al. 2005).
Conventionally understood in terms of a]iran, or stream, Indonesia’s
parties can be broadly understood as secular-nationalist (PDI-P,
Demokrat), Islamic modernist (PKS, PAN), Islamic traditionalist (PKB),
and Christian/minority (such as the Partai Damai Sejahtera, Prosperous
Peace Party, PDS). (12) King and colleagues find impressive and clear
correlations between parties/party stream chosen in 1999 and 2004.

The different complexions of the parties and the convincing evidence
brought to bear by King and colleagues do suggest that the parties
seem to have a core of voters upon which to call from election to
election, the crux of rootedness. Still, something niggles. Rooted
parties are chosen by voters consistently from year to year and
election to election. Polling in 2003 suggested that large numbers of
“swing voters” were up for grabs in 2004. In mid-2003, 58 per cent of
respondents to a national Asia Foundation poll were unsure what party
they would support in the upcoming parliamentary elections (Asia
Foundation, 2003, p. 98). This did not suggest that voters would
behave with a great deal of loyalty from 1999, and the wide swings in
the vote in the 2004 parliamentary elections suggest that many did
not. The subsequent presidential election vote in particular
demonstrated that the parties, aside from a hard core of rooted
supporters, could not command voters’ selection of a particular
presidential candidate.

Table 5 reports polling results after the April 2004 parliamentary
elections and links party voters in the parliamentary elections with
candidates for the presidential election which would be held in July.
As with voters supporting the same party from year to year, in systems
in which the parties have stable roots in society, we would expect to
see voters choose a party and a presidential candidate from the same
party in simultaneous (or near-simultaneous) elections.

The results shown in Table 5 belie this idea in the case of Indonesia.
The superscripts b in the table show party voters who planned to stick
with the party’s presidential candidate in the first round of the
presidential elections. The “loyalty rate” was highest for Demokrat
voters (87 per cent); this is intuitively understandable. Since
Demokrat was set up as a vehicle for Yudhoyono, it would make sense
that voters that chose the party intended to choose SBY as their
presidential candidate. Amien Rais appeared likely to hold 71 per cent
of PAN voters, but interestingly, 14 per cent of PAN votes, too, were
headed to SBY. Megawati might have kept almost 60 per cent of PDI-P
voters, but a significant 22 per cent planned to vote SBY in the
presidential race after choosing PDI-P for parliament. More Golkar
voters chose SBY than planned to choose the party’s own candidate,
Wiranto (39 to 38 per cent). With PPP voters too SBY was more popular
than party leader and then vice-president Hamzah Haz (39 per cent for
SBY, with just 26 per cent sticking with Hamzah). The table makes two
interesting points. First, a glance at the table would predict an
election victory for SBY. Second, voters were not solidly behind
parties and their respective presidential candidates, reflecting a
weak rooting in the population. It is interesting to wonder whether
the SBY/saviour phenomenon contributed to this weakness or whether the
weakness contributed to the rise of the SBY phenomenon.

Legitimacy of Parties and Elections

Acceptance of the system of parties and elections is key to the
institutionalizatio n of the party system. If the parties or the
electoral system, for example, are not widely considered legitimate by
the population, instability can be expected. Legitimacy, though, is
probably also a result of the institutionalizatio n of the party
system. Long-lived, stable systems that are regularly able to deliver
governing solutions are much more likely to be accepted by citizens
and thus considered legitimate.

In Indonesia the issue of the legitimacy of parties and elections
presents, as elsewhere in the article, contradictory trends. In
general, parties are ill trusted, but the elections themselves are
well respected. Polls since 1998 have repeatedly found parties as
among the least trusted social/political institutions. In this vein,
an LP3ES (Lembaga Penelitian, Pendidikan dan Penerangan Ekonomi
Sosial) poll conducted in early 2004 found that respondents felt the
parties to be out of touch and self-seeking. (13) The horse trading
that parties engage in, the corruption, the lack of attention to or
ability to solve the nation’s most pressing problems all seem to weigh
down popular sentiments towards the country’s political parties. The
parliamentary election results, with large drops for the major
parties, particularly the PDI-P of then president Megawati
Soekarnoputri, and the rise of new powers, such as Demokrat and PKS,
also seem to demonstrate popular dissatisfaction with politics as
usual, and the parties are a big part of that.

Widespread antipathy towards the parties is echoed in and reinforced
by comments by public intellectuals on the subject of the parties.
Arbi Sanit, a political scientist at the University of Indonesia,
observes that the “[p]arties have failed to carry out their duty and
function in a quality manner”. The leaders are oriented towards their
own ends “as a result of [their] egoism”. The party leaders have not
“developed abilities as statesmen, politicians, and technocrats” .
According to Arbi, the party politicians use the cheap and easy way to
motivate their followers, playing on values and primordial ties (Sanit
2003, pp. 1, 10, 12, 13).

Abd. Rohim Ghazali seconds many of Arbi’s sentiments. As shown by the
2004 parliamentary elections, the parties, rather than channelling the
people’s aspirations, have become “the stage for the betrayal of the
people’s aspirations” . According to him, the parties are just a
“Trojan horse” to get the party elites into power (Ghazali 2004).
Another cynical view comes from Frans Magnus Suseno, from the
Driyarkara School of Philosophy. “Though there is the perception that
all of the 24 parties [running in the parliamentary elections] are
bad, pick the one that is the best of the worst!” (Koirudin 2004, p.
80). That seems to be a backhanded means of encouraging people to use
their right to vote despite the pathetic offerings.

Frans’ comment leads us from attitudes towards the parties to
attitudes toward the elections. Turn-out has historically been high in
Indonesian elections. During the Soeharto years, voting was compulsory
and averaged almost 92 per cent across the six New Order elections.
Turn-out in 1999 at 93 per cent was typical of New Order elections and
high even by the standards of many “euphoric” first-democratic
elections. Turn-out across the three elections in 2004 declined
continuously. Turn-out for the parliamentary elections in April was 84
per cent. For the first round of the presidential elections in July,
turn-out was 78 per cent. For the final round of the presidential
polls in September, turn-out was just 75 per cent (IFES, undated).
Many explanations may be offered for the declining turn-out: the
confusing ballot and new voting system for the April parliamentary
elections (people were allowed to choose both a party and a
candidate); people feeling free not to vote; fatigue with the
seemingly incessant elections of 2004; the relative certainty that SBY
would win the second round presidential contest, as demonstrated by
opinion polling before voting day; and the last, lack of feeling of
efficacy on the part of voters. It is this last sentiment that would
be most important to know. Did voters not turn out to vote because
they felt unable to influence the system? Did they believe the
machinating party politicians could not be brought to heel by ordinary
voters? These are, at this time, still unknowns. Examining the early
rounds of elections for regional heads held in mid-2005 shows a
turn-out rate of about 70 per cent (Jakarta Post, 8 July 2005). Rises
in voter alienation would be ill harbingers for institutionalizatio n
of the party system and, potentially, democracy.

Despite a declining turn-out, public perception of the elections has
generally been quite positive, as demonstrated through opinion polling
by the International Foundation for Election Systems, or IFES (2004).
That the elections were very or somewhat well organized was agreed to
by 90 per cent of respondents after the first round of the
presidential contest and 96 per cent after the second round. (14) Were
the elections fair? After the second round of the presidential
contest, when, assuming all three elections were in respondents’
minds, 97 per cent considered the elections mostly or completely fair.
Eighty-nine per cent of respondents felt that the election monitoring
organization, Panwaslu, was effective at supervision of the polls;
just 7 per cent disagreed. Election rules were not well enforced in
1999. In 2004, election oversight seems to have improved.

In addition to viewing attitudes toward parties and elections, we may
look to the embeddedness of the political parties in the current
political system to attempt to see public recognition of the
legitimacy of their role. Embeddedness alone cannot be seen as an
unmitigated positive for institutionalizatio n. We must look at
embeddedness in conjunction with other attitudes towards legitimacy,
and here is why. Parties that are strongly embedded in the political
system without being viewed as legitimate, as was the case up to 2004,
may actually be a recipe for dissatisfaction. It is this
dissatisfaction that could lead to alienation from the democratic
system and potential instability.

The parties have been strongly embedded in Indonesia’s post-Soeharto
system of government; some would say the parties have a stranglehold
on the political process. Only parties (and parties of a certain size)
can nominate candidates for parliament at all levels, the presidency,
and province/district heads. Attempts to mitigate the parties’ power,
such as by moving from a closed to open-list proportional
representation system and creating a new party-less Regional
Representatives Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD), have changed
the situation little. Fewer than 50 per cent of voters took advantage
of the open-list feature (which would break the party centres’ control
over who enters parliament through their control of list rankings)
(“Report on Discussion” 2004, p. 26). In the 2004 parliamentary
elections, few contests turned on this feature. The DPD is also a weak
cousin to the party-dominated parliament and even this notionally
party-less body is not devoid of strong connections between members
and the existing political parties.

Stable Rules and Structures

The last criterion of party system institutionalizatio n, stable rules
and structures, is the most “organizational” . In order to be
considered institutionalized, parties need to have developed their
capacities as “organizations” . First, party organizations should be
relatively independent: having sufficient and regular funding, free of
the dictates of any sponsoring organization, and not personalistic.
Secondly, parties should be internally disciplined. They should have
the capacity to vote as a bloc in legislative bodies. They should also
be relatively free of faction. Parties should also control processes
of candidate selection. Lastly, parties should be routinized as
organizations, with systemness, or inter-connectedness , among the
various parts as well as regularization of internal processes.

Due to the many criteria at issue in considering the degree to which
the parties have established stable rules and structures as well as
the poor information available on the topic due to lack of
transparency on the part of the parties, in this section, I will be
forced to speak in broad brush strokes on the issue of party
organization and offer

a more extended discussion on a few key issues such as personalism and
factionalization in the parties. The presidential elections brought
the issue of personalism in particular to the fore.

Indonesia’s party organizations generally wither in the absence of
elections; this, of course, suggests a lack of stable structures and
systemness and thus a lack of institutionalizatio n. Perhaps, of all
the parties, only the upstart PKS has worked to develop a solid
organization based on rigorous cadre development, discipline, and
democratic participation. In general, due to strong concentration of
decision-making authority at the party centre and the magnetic role of
party leaders, other arms of the organization do not develop; this is
rational in that other parts of the organization are neither wanted
nor needed. It would be superfluous or even counter-productive from
party leaders’ perspectives to develop highly involved party cadres if
party strategy relies on the motivation of followers based on charisma
alone. Those involved cadres might want input into the party’s
direction, depriving the centre of its power to set party policy

The personalism of Indonesia’s parties is the most remarked upon
organizational concern. Educated, urban political observers decry that
parties’ reliance on what are seen to be irrational, primordial
sentiments and personality to obtain votes. William Liddle and Saiful
Mujani in their study of voting behaviour found that the most
important factor in determining Indonesians’ vote in both the
presidential and parliamentary contests was attachment to an
individual party leader (Liddle and Mujani 2005). Because the parties
have the ability to manipulate voter sentiments through charismatic
leaders, it actually does not make sense to invest heavily in
organization building. For this reason, aside from the PKS exception,
most parties are “rational” and rely on “irrationality” , thus
resulting in weaker organizations.

One Indonesian observer noted that Indonesia’s “media-democracy was
leaving political parties at the margin of political activity”
(Prasojo 2004, p. 223). The nature of the entire campaign from
parliamentary to presidential elections was highly personalistic. Both
the parliamentary and presidential campaigns were largely focused on
the parties’ respective presidentiables (to borrow a term from the
Philippines) , in addition to an array of stars from the worlds of
television, movies, and music. According to Andi Mallarangeng, the
personalistic nature of the campaign suggested that “[p]olitical
leaders don’t think people are smart enough or rational enough to look
at the issues” (, 28 June 2004). Issues were treated only
vaguely in the campaign. Candidates were big on identifying the
nation’s problems: unemployment and corruption, for example, but were
much weaker on how these problems would be overcome. Presidential
campaigns were run by success teams focused on the candidates
themselves and not the political party. (15)

One important indicator of the degree to which 2004 was a series of
contests about personality rather than party was the failure of the
parties to deliver their voters to their respective presidential
candidates, as discussed above. As Indra J. Piliang of the Center for
Strategic and International Studies observed, a “political rebellion
took place at the grassroots level” (Jakarta Post, 6 October 2004).
Voters chose for themselves who would be the most appealing
presidential candidate, taking few cues from party organizations or
other bodies.

As far as internal discipline is concerned, the parties are obviously
strongly divided. While parties can control parliamentarians due to
their power of recall, party splits are ubiquitous. The lack of
internal democracy in the parties and all-powerful natures of the
party centres almost make these splits inevitable, as there is small
room for challenge, reform, and leadership renewal. Between 1999 and
2004, most of the major parties, including Golkar, PDI-P, PKB, PPP,
PAN, and PBB, experienced significant splinters and internal
factionalization, some of the parties experiencing multiple,
significant divisions. In the wake of the 2004 elections, Megawati’s
leadership of the PDI-P was challenged by a reform movement in the
party seeking to foster internal democracy and hold Megawati
responsible for her failures in office and as a campaigner; the
attempts failed. Unlike PDI-P, Golkar was able to react to the outcome
of the 2004 elections, most notably SBY’s victory. The anti-SBY wing
of the party was soundly defeated in leadership elections, as new
Vice-President Jusuf Kalla took control of the party and placed his
own people in the party’s leading positions, presenting a more unified
organizational front.

Conclusion: Implications for Indonesian Democracy

Scholars Scott Mainwaring and Timothy Scully pointed to the level of
party system institutionalizatio n as the key difference between
developed and developing country politics. In the Latin American
systems the authors studied, low levels of institutionalizatio n of the
party system were accompanied by low levels of accountability and
unstable governance. I have used the authors’ framework in a
different, Asian, context, and in a situation of recent transition
from authoritarian rule. I view the party system institutionalizatio n
framework as a lens which highlights important areas in considering
Indonesia’s democratization.

On balance, I find that Indonesia’s party system has
deinstitutionalized slightly since 1999, particularly with the focus
on individuals rather than parties because of the presidential
contest, continuing into the races for regional heads around the
nation. SBY’s victory in particular can be seen as a triumph over the
parties. Still, the parties exhibit conflicting signs of
institutionalizatio n, strong in some areas and weak in others. In many
ways the parties’ strengths make their weaknesses worse. There is a
silver lining, however.

In the realm of inter-party competition, we see a declining share of
the vote to the established political parties and a rise in the
effective number of parties in the system. Volatility at more than 28
is high, but on par with some other countries in transition. The
PDI-P’s large swing downward explains a great deal of the volatility
in the system. In 2004, rules of campaigning were broken wildly,
suggesting a lack of decorum in the parties’ inter-relationships , but
that these rules brought down sanctions in contrast to 1999’s utter
rulelessness could be seen as a strong positive. Ideological
polarization has declined since 1998-99 as all parties have attempted
to reach across the old sociocultural divides in the population. In
fact, collusive competition now seems a larger danger than combative
competition. We can expect to see further flux in parties’ vote shares
in future.

Parties do seem to have established either on-Java or off-Java support
bases. In addition, there seems to be a split between parties of the
urban, educated, and relatively wealthy (Demokrat and PKS), in
contrast to parties of the rural, less educated, and relatively poor
(Golkar, PDI-P, PKB). Also, the parties winning the lion’s share of
the vote are longer lived than Indonesia’s young democracy might
suggest. Evidently, the parties have established a core of support
that can be counted on from one election to the next. There are
weaknesses, though. Parties were unable to deliver their parties’
parliamentary voters to particular presidential candidates, nor were
they able to hold them unambiguously from 1999; these would be two
markers of greater rootedness of the parties in the population.

The parties are widely seen as corrupt and self-seeking; this is
affected and reinforced by public intellectuals’ commentary on the
party system. The decline in turn-out through 2004 might also speak to
voters’ declining sense of efficacy. Or, the declining turn-out might
be seen simply as acceptance of a foregone conclusion. The parties are
strongly embedded in the system as shown in laws on parties and
elections (qualifying as a party is more difficult and only parties of
a certain size can participate) . Attempts to minimize the parties’
centres’ power by implementing an open-list form of proportional
representation had minimal impact. The new party-less Regional
Representatives Council is also by design no match for the
party-dominated DPR. The vote in 2004, though, should be seen as a
vote against politics as usual. The upturn in vote for PKS and
Demokrat as well as SBY’s victory in the presidential race were
indications of a desire for change and thus a lack of legitimacy for
existing ways of doing business.

Lastly, the parties’ rules and structures are weak. Party
organizations, outside the centre, collapse into nothingness outside
of election periods. Personalistic parties still dominate the
political system, nowhere better demonstrated than in the failure of
PDI-P reformers to bring Megawati to heel in their challenge to her at
the 2005 PDI-P Congress. Parties have indeed behaved rationally in
betting on the electorate’s irrationality. Why build structures when
charisma can work just as effectively and much more cheaply? The
parties experienced an earthquake of schisms in the 1999-2004 interval
and are strongly factionalized.

As the above synopsis suggests, Indonesia’s political parties are in
certain ways very strong. The position they are given in the political
system by virtue of the country’s laws on parties and elections is
strong. The proportional representation electoral system strengthens
the parties, and the party central leaderships particularly. Opposing
the “Western practice” of voting, the party leaderships, in
consultation with one another, are able to shepherd most of
parliament’s business with barely a whimper from the country’s

Indonesia’s parties are also weak. The parties are divorced from the
population, almost uniformly elite-led creations which, while having a
somewhat stable constituency, have no stable popular involvement in
decision-making. In addition, many of the parties are personalistic,
trading on the charisma of prominent persons for votes. Finally, the
parties are underdeveloped as organizations. They have struggled with
a lack of internal rules, party splits, and unprofessional management.

The parties’ strengths, then, make the parties’ weaknesses worse.
Because the party central leaderships are in a strong position in the
legislature and the parties are personalistic, party leaders have
little incentive to develop their organizations. Because the parties
are strong, they have behaved with relative impunity to this point.
The parties’ startling weaknesses have contributed to a climate in
which their legitimacy is dissipating. In many ways, this explains the
ex nihilo success of Demokrat and PKS in 2004 as well as SBY’s
dramatic rise to the presidency, drawing votes from across Indonesia’s
political spectrum.

A key criticism of Indonesia’s democratization to this point has been
the weakness of accountability- -and, importantly, this is often
associated with weak party system institutionalizatio n. With a
president coming to power on the back of a grand coalition, as was the
case with Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri, who is to be
held responsible, in the end, for policy successes and failures? With
a legislature that disdains voting, shepherding its business through
the consensus of faction leaders, where, too, is accountability? The
key lesson of 2004 is that the anvil of accountability can come
crashing down, and this is the silver lining for those hoping for
democratic consolidation in Indonesia. According to Thamrin Areal
Tomagola of the University of Indonesia, “[f]rom now on, leaders will
have to reckon with the people” (Associated Press, 21 September 2004).
Indeed, Golkar and PDI-P have little to relish in their parliamentary
“triumphs” in 2004. Movements have stirred in both parties to react to
the popular verdict. SBY was elected as a non-partisan figure who, it
was hoped, could save the nation, but he has not acted as a party
destroyer. While we can continue to expect to see shifts in levels of
support for the parties in future, the people cannot be written out of
the equation, and that is the healthiest news of all for Indonesia’s


Abd. Rahin Ghazali. 2004 “Putus Hubungan Partai dengan Rakyat”.
Kompas, Siapa Mau Jadi Presiden? Debar Publik Seputar Program dan
Partai Politik pada Pemilu 2004. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas.

Asia Foundation. 2003. Democracy in Indonesia: A Survey of the
Indonesian Electorate 2003. Jakarta: Asia Foundation.

Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the
Late Twentieth Century. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.

Imawan, Riswandha. 2004. “The Lonely Winners”. Kompas. Siapa Mau Jadi
Presiden? Debat Publik Seputar Program dan Partai Politik pada Pemilu
2004. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas.

International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES). Undated.
Electionguide. “Results Summary” for Indonesia Presidential and
Parliamentary Elections. http://www.ifes. org (accessed 1 March 2005).

–.2004. “Results from Wave XVIII of Tracking Surveys”, 19 October
2004. http://www.ifes. org/searchable/ ifes-site/ reg-activities/
indonesia-surveys. html#surveys.

King, Dwight Y., Anies Baswedan, and Nicolaus Harjanto. 2005. “The
Relative Importance of Social-based Voting in the 2004 Indonesian
Elections.” Paper presented at the Association for Asian Studies
Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

Koirudin. 2004. Profil Pemilu 2004: Evaluasi Pelaksanaan, Hasil dan
Perubahan Peta Politik Nasional Pasca Pemilu Legislatif 2004.
Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.

Lembaga Penelitian, Pendidikan dan Penerangan Ekonomi Sosial (LP3ES).
April 2004. Pemilih PDIP Beralih ke Partai Demokrat, Suara PPP dan PAN
Bocor ke PKS. 7 April 2004. http://www.lp3es.

–. March 2004. “Not Who, but What the Voters Want”. 18
March 2004. http://www.laksaman

Liddle, R. William, and Saiful Mujani. 2005. “Comparing the 1999 and
2004 Indonesian Legislative Elections”. Paper presented at the
Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, April 2005.

Linz, Juan, and Alfred Stepan. 1996. Problems of Democratic Transition
and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America and Post-communist
Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.

Mainwaring, Scott. 1998. “Party Systems in the Third Wave”. Journal of
Democracy 9, no. 3: 67-81.

–. 1999. Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of
Democratization: The Case of Brazil. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Mainwaring, Scott, and Timothy R. Scully. 1995. Building Democratic
Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America. Stanford: Stanford
University Press.

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). 2004.
“The People’s Voice: Presidential Politics and Voter Perspectives in
Indonesia: Report on a Series of Focus Groups Conducted during May in
Seven Indonesian Provinces Ahead of the July 2004 Presidential
Elections”, 6 June 2004.

Norden, Deborah L. 1998. “Party Relations and Democracy in Latin
America”. Party Politics 4, no. 4: 423-43.

O’Donnell, Guillermo, and Philippe C. Schmitter. 1986. Transitions
from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain
Democracies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Prasojo, Eko. 2004. “Mediokrasi dalam Pemilu 2004”. Kompas, Siapa Mau
Jadi Presiden? Debut Publik Seputar Program dan Partai Politik pada
Pemilu 2004. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas.

Randall, Vicky, and Lars Svasand. 2002. “Party Institutionalizatio n in
New Democracies” . Party Politics 8, no. 1: 5-29.

“Report on Discussion: Coalition Politics on Presidential Elections:
Platform Commonality or Expansion of Support Base? The Habibie Center,
18 May 2004”. Postscript, June 2004.

Sanit, Arbi. 2003. “Pembaharuan Mendasar Partai Politik”. In Menggugat
Partai Politik, edited by Mahrus Irsyam and Lili Romli. Jakarta:
Laboratorium Ilmu Politik, Fackultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik,
Universitas Indonesia.

Sartori, Giovanni. 1976. Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for
Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Slater, Dan. 2004. “Indonesia’s Accountability Trap: Party Cartels and
Presidential Power after Democratic Transition”. Unpublished
manuscript. 29 July 2004, p. 3.

Tomagola, Tamrin Amal. 2004. “Pasangan Presidensial 2004”. Kompas.
Siapa Mau Jadi Presiden? Debut Publik Seputur Program dan Partai
Politik pada Pemilu 2004. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas.


* An earlier version of this article was presented at the Association
for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, in April 2005.
Thanks to fellow panellists Dwight King, Bill Liddle, and Allen
Hicken. Brantly Womack also offered comments on an earlier draft. The
author monitored the 2004 first round of presidential elections with
Jakarta’s Habibie Center. She is grateful to the Center and its kind

(1) In the Third Wave, Huntington actually highlights a “two turnover
test”, which required not just two sets of elections but two peaceful
changes of government following elections as indication that democracy
was becoming established. This is often telescoped to a two-election
test. See Huntington (1991, pp. 266-67).

(2) Criticisms of Mainwaring and Scully that accuse the scholars of
melding the ideas of party institutionalizatio n and party system
institutionalizatio n have informed the author’s analysis of the
Indonesian case. See Randall and Svasand (2002).

(3) Linz and Stepan describe five “arenas” in which the consolidation
of democracy takes place. Consolidation requires a vibrant civil
society, an autonomous political society, the rule of law, a usable
state, and an economic society. For more on the arenas, see the
introductory chapter of Linz and Stepan (1996).

(4) According to the revised election law (2003), parties needed 2 per
cent of seats in the existing DPR, 3 per cent of regional parliament
seats (DPRD) in half of all provinces, or 3 per cent of seats in
regency or municipal-level councils (DPRD II) in half of all the
country’s regencies and cities to qualify to take part automatically
in the elections. Parties not fulfilling the criteria could merge with
an existing party or attempt to create a new party meeting the
criteria. New parties needed executive committees and permanent
offices in two-thirds of the provinces and two-thirds of the
regencies/cities in those provinces and 1,000 party members (or
1/1000th of the population, whichever is smaller) in each regency/city
where the party is organized.

(5) As Partai Keadilan, PKS had competed in 1999, achieving just under
1.4 per cent of the vote. Partai Demokrat was a wholly new party.

(6) It is in this type of stability that some suggest that high
degrees of institutionalizatio n can actually be stultifying to a
political system. New parties have many hurdles trying to break in to
the US system.

(7) Volatility is the sum of the changes from one period to the next
divided by two.

(8) PDI-P’s swing has been interpreted as PDI-P members not showing
loyalty to the party. We do not have the data to support this
conclusion. A more likely interpretation is that votes broadly
intending towards “reform” went to PDI-P in 1999. These were
frustrated by PDI-P alliances with status quo politicians and
Megawati’s relative inactivity in office from 2001. PDI-P had no
long-term claim to these votes, and they have moved elsewhere in an
attempt to seek satisfaction.

(9) On the rulelessness of the 1999 campaign, personal interview with
Hikmahanto Juwono, a member of the Jakarta Panwas, Jakarta, 11
February 2000. On the 2004 elections, see the Panwaslu website at

(10) The author acknowledges that reasonable scholars may differ on
how to establish the parties’ ages. Where continuity in personalities,
symbols, ideology, or facilities was clear, such as with Golkar,
PDI-P, and PPP from the Soeharto era, I have counted these
contemporary parties as continuations of the earlier incarnations.
Where significant breaks occurred, such as from the Partai NU of the
parliamentary democracy era to the PKB of today, the party has been
dated to its post-Soeharto founding. However exactly the parties are
dated, the point would remain the same. Despite the 48 notionally
“new” parties which contested the polls in 1999 and the 24 in 2004,
the bulk of the vote went to parties with longer histories. These
parties thus provide more stability to the system than its new-ness
might suggest.

(11) The Java provinces include Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central
Java, Yogyakarta, and East Java.

(12) Parties such as Golkar and PPP defy easy categorization within
the traditional streams. Golkar is primarily a secular-nationalist
party but with important Islamic currents. PPP is an Islamic party
that takes in both modernist and traditionalist elements.

(13) N = 5,592. LP3ES survey preceding the parliamentary elections
(LP3ES March 2004).

(14) The national-level election organizing body, the KPU, has since
been rocked by scandal as several of its members, including its head,
have been arrested and charged with corruption. It is not clear how or
whether this has impacted popular attitudes towards the conduct of the

(15) This is similar to the US party system. Despite US parties’
long-livedness, US parties are notoriously weak along many other
criteria of institutionalizatio n.

PAIGE JOHNSON TAN is currently Assistant Professor in the Department
of Political Science, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, United

Table 1
Parties’ Results in the 1999 and 2004 Parliamentary Elections:
Share of Vote, Number of Seats, and Share of Seats

1999 2004

% of No. of % of % of No. of % of
Parties Vote Seats Seats Vote Seats Seats

Golkar 22.4 120 26.0 21.6 128 23.3
PDI-P 33.7 153 33.1 18.5 109 19.8
PKB 12.6 51 11.0 10.6 52 9.5
PPP 10.7 58 12.6 8.2 58 10.5
Demokrat n.a. n.a. n.a. 7.5 57 10.4
PKS 1.4 7 1.5 7.3 45 8.2
PAN 7 34 7.4 6.4 52 9.5
PBR n.a. n.a. n.a. 2.4 13 2.4
PBB 1.9 13 2.8 2.3 11 2.0
PDS n.a. n.a. n.a. 2.1 12 2.2
PKPI 1 4 0.9 1.3 1 0.2
PPNUI 0.6 5 1.1 0.8 0 0.0
PDKB 0.5 5 1.1 n.a. n.a. n.a.
Others 8.2 12 2.6 11 12 2.2
Total 100.0 462 100 100 550 100

NOTE: In the event a party’s name changed between 1999 and 2004, the
most recent name has been used.

Golkar = Partai Golkar.

PDI-P = Partai Demokrasi Indonesia-Perjuanga n.

PKB = Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa.

PPP = Partai Persatuan Pembangunan.

Demokrat = Partai Demokrat.

PKS = Partai Keadilan Sejahtera.

PAN = Partai Amanat Nasional.

PBR = Partai Bintang Reformasi.

PBB = Partai Bulan Bintang.

PDS = Partai Damai Sejahtera.

PKPI = Partai Kesatuan dan Persatuan Indonesia.

PPNUI = Partai Persatuan Nahdlatul Ummah Indonesia.

PDKB = Partai Demokrasi Kasih Bangsa.

SOURCES: Electionworld. org, “Elections in Indonesia”,
http://www.election indonesia. htm (accessed 3
March 2005); Elaine Paige Johnson, “Streams of Least Resistance:
The Institutionalizatio n of Political Parties and Democracy in
Indonesia”, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia, 2002;
“Perhitungan Perolehan Kursi DPR RI”, KPU Indonesia,
http://www.kpu. php (accessed 1 March 2005).

Table 2
Concentration of the Parliamentary Vote:
Elections of 1955, 1999, and 2004

% Share of Vote

1955 1999 2004

Top 4 parties 78 79.5 58.8
Top 5 parties 80.9 86.5 66.3
Top 6 parties 83.6 88.5 73.6
Top 7 parties 85.6 89.9 80

SOURCE: KPU Indonesia, Final Results, Parliamentary
Elections 2004, http://www.kpu.
(accessed 25 June 2004); Biro Humas, Komisi
Pemilihan Umum: Pemilu Indonesia Dalam
Angka don Fakta Tahun 1955-1999 (Jakarta:
KPU, 2000).

Table 3
Indonesian Presidential Elections, 2004 (Percentage score)

July September
Presidential- Vice-Presidentia l 2004 2004
Candidate Pair * First Round Second Round

Wiranto and Salahuddin Wahid 22.2
Megawati Soekarnoputri and Hasyim Muzadi 26.2 39.1
Amien Rais and Siswono Yudo Husodo 14.9
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jusuf Kalla 33.6#
Hamzah Haz and Agum Gumelar 3.1 60.9#

* Winner of each round noted in bold.

SOURCE: KPU Indonesia, “Hasil Pilpres”,
http://www.kpu. pilpres/suara_ sah-1.
php (accessed 3 March 2005).

Note: Winner of each round is indicated with #.

Table 4
Big Seven Parties with Java Dependence

Share of Vote from Java
Party 2004 Parliamentary Elections

Golkar 52.8
PDI-P 71.2
PKB 87.5
PPP 66.2
Demokrat 69.0
PKS 66.5
PAN 60

SOURCE: Calculated from KPU Indonesia, Final Results,
Parliamentary Elections 2004, http://www.kpu.
(accessed 25 June 2004).

Table 5
Support for Presidential Candidates (Round I/July 2004 (a))
by Party Chosen in Parliamentary Contest, April 2004 (b)

Percentage of Support
Party Chosen
in April Susilo
Parliamentary Bambang Megawati
Elections Yudhoyono Soekarnoputri Wiranto

Golkar 39.1 5.1 38.4 (b)
PDI-P 22.3 59.2 (b) 3.8
PPP 39.4 3.0 7.1
PKB 47.4 5.9 18.4
Demokrat 87.3 (b) 2.4 3.2
PKS 40.2 1.0 7.2
PAN 14.7 0.9 2.6
PBB 48.6 2.7 10.8
PBR 52.2 4.3 17.4
PDS 33.3 33.3 22.2
Others 59.1 6.0 10.4
Secret 36.1 6.4 7.1
No response 23.8 2.4 2.4

Percentage of Support
Party Chosen
in April
Parliamentary Hamzah Don’t Know/
Elections Amien Rais Haz No Response

Golkar 5.1 1.1 11.2
PDI-P 1.2 n.a. 13.5
PPP 10.1 26.3 (b) 14.1
PKB 2.6 2.6 23.1
Demokrat 2 n.a. 5.1
PKS 39.2 2.1 10.3
PAN 71.6 (b) 0.9 9.3
PBB 18.9 5.4 13.6
PBR 26.1 n.a. n.a.
PDS n.a. n.a. 11.2
Others 9.6 1.7 13.2
Secret 4.9 1.9 43.6
No response 4.8 2.4 64.2

NOTE: Read across presidential candidate columns as support for
candidates from each party’s voters.

(a) Interviews conducted June 2004. N (number of respondents) = 2,000.
(b) Solidity of support from candidate’s own party.

SOURCE: IFES, Wave XIV Tracking Surveys, 1 July 2004,

Published by


Born in Medan, lives in Jakarta, loves Indonesia.

2 thoughts on “Yeah, Seven Years after Soeharto”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s