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PARTY CARTELIZATION, INDONESIAN-STYLE: PRESIDENTIAL POWER-SHARING AND THE CONTINGENCY OF DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION

  • Dan Slater
Abstract

Democracy and opposition are supposed to go hand in hand. Opposition did not emerge as automatically as expected after Indonesia democratized, however, because presidents shared power much more widely than expected. The result has been what I call party cartelization, Indonesian-style. This differs significantly from canonical cases of party cartelization in Europe. Yet it exhibits the same troubling outcome for democratic accountability: the stunted development of a clearly identifiable party opposition. Since the advent of direct presidential elections in 2004, Indonesian democratic competition has unsurprisingly assumed somewhat more of a government vs. opposition cast. But this shift has arisen more from contingent failures of elite bargaining than from any decisive change in the power-sharing game. So long as Indonesia's presidents consider it strategically advantageous to share power with any party that declares its support, opposition will remain difficult to identify and vulnerable to being extinguished entirely in the world's largest emerging democracy.

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Journal of East Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 1598-2408
  • EISSN: 2234-6643
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-east-asian-studies
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