Politics and International Relations
Indonesia’s democracy has attracted wide scholarly attention, not only because of its rarity in the region but also because of its increasingly illiberal nature. At issue is not whether Indonesia has consolidated the formal institutional trappings of democracy – it certainly has – but rather what sort of politics are actually practiced within those formal trappings. Within this context, this roundtable discusses the run-up and outcomes of Indonesia’s national parliamentary and presidential elections as well as subnational legislative elections, which all will be held in April 2019, with a special focus on the attributes and behavior of Indonesia’s political elite.
While elite behavior does not tell us everything we need to know about a democracy, a careful examination of elite behavior can generate crucial insights into the quality of democracy, not only with respect to national politics but also at local levels of governance. Several questions motivate this roundtable. What do the outcomes of the 2019 elections say about the direction of Indonesia’s democratic development? What factors shape elite motivations for and participation in democratic institutions? Who are Indonesia’s political elites in 2019? How do various elite behaviors enhance or limit Indonesia’s democracy? What shapes the attributes and practices of Indonesia’s political elite? What patterns of continuity and change do we observe in both profiles and behavior of Indonesia’s political elite? A panel of international experts will address these questions drawing on their longstanding research in the country’s politics and society.