Parliamentary Elections in Indonesia: President Susilo on the Rise

Andreas Ufen


The Indonesian parliamentary elections in April 2009 have been characterized as peaceful, free, and fair. All in all, the young democracy has been stabilized. The PD (Partai Demokrat, Democratic Party), the electoral vehicle of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, won with 20.8%. It is mostly secular parties, that is the PD, Golkar (Partai Golongan Karya, Party of Functional Groups) and the PDI-P (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia – Perjuangan, Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle), which now dominate the party system. Support for the Islamic parties has dwindled; only the Islamist PKS (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera, Prosperous Justice Party) was able to gain slightly. The rapid rise of the PD and two smaller new parties is testimony to the fluidity of the party system. The results corroborate a trend of a weakening of socio-political "streams" (aliran). This development is due to the increasing personalization and commercialization of politics and the impact of mass media. Moreover, electoral reforms (the introduction of an "open list") seem to have strengthened local politicians vis-à-vis party headquarters in Jakarta.

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