Patronage Driven Democracy: Narratives of Survival and Failure of District Heads in the Emerging Democratic Indonesia (A Case Study in Four Rural and Urban Districts in East Java, Indonesia)

Author: Wawan Sobari

Sobari, Wawan, 2015 Patronage Driven Democracy: Narratives of Survival and Failure of District Heads in the Emerging Democratic Indonesia (A Case Study in Four Rural and Urban Districts in East Java, Indonesia), Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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Abstract

The qualitative research addresses the political logic of why and how the incumbents’ succeed or fail in direct election of district heads (pilkada) in the emerging democratic Indonesia. The key points are that populism, rivalry and tangibility are the core strategies for the successful incumbents in retaining their offices in four rural and urban districts in East Java. Populism refers to the strategies that emphasise winning through making popular policies and activities, rather than effective or relevant policy that has medium and long term implications. Rivalry refers to the capability to manage support and opposition both from formal and informal actors through fair or unfair means. Tangibility refers to the ability to deliver tangible policy outputs for the electorate, by building tangible infrastructures or distributing goods that will support the incumbents’ re-elections. In particular, the survival of an incumbent hinges on their capacity to manage rivalry risks from formal and informal backers. Instead of helping liberal democracy to grow, these strategies potentially support autocratic democracy in the country, in which a small number of elites who control patronage and thus exert influential control over the country’s electoral processes.

Keywords: political survival, pilkada, democracy, Indonesia
Subject: Politics thesis, Policy and Administration thesis, Development Studies thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2015
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof Janet McIntyre