Andreas Ufen

Political Parties in Post-Suharto Indonesia: Between politik aliran and ’Philippinisation’

GIGA Working Paper, No. 37, December 2006

Surprisingly, the outcome of the 1999 and 2004 elections in Indonesia and the resultant constellation of political parties are reminiscent of the first Indonesian parliamentary democracy of the 1950s. The dynamics of party politics is still marked by aliran ('streams'), i.e. some of the biggest political parties still have a mass base and are embedded in specific milieus. But politik aliran has lost a lot of its significance and re-emerged in a quite different form after the fall of Suharto in 1998. Starting with this observation, it is argued that parties are still socially rooted, so a modified aliran approach still has its analytical value. However, one can also witness a weakening of aliran (dealiranisasi) and a concomitant 'Philippinisation', which is indicated by the rise of presidential or presidentialised parties, growing intra-party authoritarianism, the prevalence of 'money politics', the lack of meaningful political platforms, weak loyalties towards parties, cartels with shifting coalitions and the upsurge of new local elites.

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GIGA AutorInnen

PD Dr. Andreas Ufen ist Senior Research Fellow am GIGA Institut für Asien-Studien und Privatdozent am Fachbereich Sozialwissenschaften der Universität Hamburg. Sein Forschungsinteresse richtet sich auf politische Parteien, Populismus, den politischen Islam und Demokratisierung in Südostasien, insbesondere in Indonesien und Malaysia.

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