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The 1999 Electoral Reforms in Indonesia: Debate, Design and Implementation

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This article describes some of the major ways in which the recent electoral reforms changed the Soeharto-era electoral system. The system of only three political parties adhering to a common philosophy (Pancasila) was replaced by hundreds of parties and considerable ideological diversity. To make elections of legislators more meaningful, responsibility for the administration and supervision of elections was placed with more neutral authorities. The reforms enhanced the representativeness, power and accountability of the legislatures in various ways, including multipartyism, establishment of standing subcommissions, bestowal of subpoena power, and decrease in appointed representatives. Particular attention is given to the debate surrounding the most sensitive issues in electoral reform: appointed military representatives, proportional versus district (plurality) electoral principle, and civil servants' involvement in political parties. Despite numerous flaws both in the design of the reforms and in their implementation, reasons for cautious optimism about Indonesia's political evolution are offered in conclusion.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science Center for Southeast Asian Studies Northern Illinois University

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/content/journals/10.1163/030382400x00064
2000-01-01
2016-12-08

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