How do social, economic and political elites manage to maintain power in representative institutions in Indonesia after two democratic elections have been conducted?
After Soeharto s fall in 1998 Indonesia has been struggling with the same problems as many of the newly democratised countries in the third wave of democratisation. The largest problem these countries are facing is the patterns of inequality in society between, on the one hand, social, economic and political elites, and on the other hand, the majority of the population who is poor, uneducated and often depoliticised. This pattern was crystallised during colonial rule and, at least in the case of Indonesia, kept evolving through authoritarian political regimes after independence. In Indonesia democratic reforms were to a large extent introduced as a result of pressure from below, with students and other groups protesting in the streets. The reformation process, however, was largely dominated by soft-liners and hard-liners inside the old corridors of power. Elite pacts are according to the transitional approach the only viable alternative for creating stable democracies in authoritarian regimes. This is because the old elites get to secure some vital interests in the new democratic system and, thus, will not counterwork it once put into practise. Although this line of arguing introduces some important points, the transitional approach avoids taking into consideration the consequences of elite-crafted democracies. The intuitive outcome is democratic rights and institutions which favour the elites who crafted them, and this is also to a large extent what has happened in Indonesia. The new democracy does not seem to lead to political equality and popular control of public affairs which is the basic principles of democracy according to the definitions of Beetham and Törnquist. These definitions guides the understanding of democracy in this thesis and the capacity dimension, added to Beetham s original definition by Törnquist, has been of especial importance.The Indonesian democratisation process was strongly influenced by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF. These organisations adhere to neo-liberal ideas of a minimalist state, a large private sector and a strong and vibrant civil society. It has been argued in this thesis that a focus on civil society as the arena to enhance public participation in politics has had the effect of depoliticising democracy. Civil society activist often have little control of the political institutions where the important decisions on public affairs are being taken. The political party was instead introduced as the most important institution to integrate the masses into politics as this is the institutions that nominate candidates to representative and executive posts and are to represent people s interests in government. As political parties were argued to be the most important instruments to increase public participation in politics, two dimensions were worked out to explore their actual performance in doing that. First, the nomination process of candidates for representative and executive positions were studied. Second, it was explored how the nominated candidates approached the voting constituency to mobilise electoral support. In researching these two dimensions the capacity dimension of the substantial democracy definition became of central importance. It was argued that certain people draw on sources of power and relationships with the electorate not available to the majority of the population. Three elite groups were then brought into the theoretical discussion because they were assumed to have advantages in the party system due to their capacities to become nominate inside political parties and to mobilise the electorate. The three elite groups were patrons, bosses and oligarchs and are drawn from the theoretical frameworks of Migdal, Sidel and Robison & Hadiz. The empirical data of this thesis have confirmed that social, economic and political elites in general have advantages in the party system in Indonesia, and, thus, dominate representative institutions. Of especial importance are the three elite groups. They draw on sources of power not available to the majority of the population and on hierarchical mobilisation strategies