Politics and governance

Fifteen years after Indonesia began its transition to becoming the world’s third most populous democracy, democratic governance in the country has recorded remarkable achievements. For example, Indonesia is now judged by international agencies such as Freedom House to be the most democratic country in Southeast Asia. At the same time, it is widely acknowledged that the quality of Indonesia’s democratic institutions is undermined by various factors, especially the ubiquity of patronage distribution as a mode of organising political life. As a result, those institutions frequently experience serious problems in formulating and implementing policy. While few scholars detect signs of that the survival of Indonesian democracy is threatened in the short term, matters of democratic quality remain paramount.

Research at the Indonesian Project covers a broad range of the critical issues regarding democratic governance and politics in contemporary Indonesia. Major research projects focus on critical institutions, such as the presidency, parties and parliaments. Others focus on underlying social dynamics, in areas such as religion and ethnicity, and their interaction with the political sphere.

Current research projects

  • Political party financing and reform
  • Cabinet government
  • Political clientelism, patronage politics and vote buying
  • Ethnicity and electoral politics
  • The politics of Islam in democratic Indonesia

Selected publications

  • Aspinall, E. and G. van Klinken (eds). 2011. The State and Illegality in Indonesia. Leiden: KITLV Press.
  • Aspinall, E. and M. Mietzner (eds). 2010. Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
  • Dressel, B. and M. Mietzner. 2012. “A Tale of Two Courts: The Judicialization of Electoral Politics in Asia”, Governance 25(3): 391-414.
  • Mietzner, M. 2012. “Indonesia's Democratic Stagnation: Anti-reformist Elites and Resilient Civil Society”, Democractization 19(2): 209-229.
  • Mietzner, M. 2013. “Fighting The Hellhounds: Pro-Democracy Activists And Party Politics In Post-Suharto Indonesia”, Journal of Contemporary Asia 43(1): 28-50.

Updated:  4 March 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Department Administrator/ Page Contact:  CAP Web Team