Andreas Ufen

Political Party and Party System Institutionalisation in Southeast Asia: A Comparison of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand

GIGA Working Paper, No. 44, March 2007

It is generally acknowledged that a higher degree of party and party system institutionalisation is positively correlated with the consolidation of democracy. It is, thus, useful to compare different levels and types of institutionalisation. In this article the distinction made by Levitsky (‘value infusion’ vs. ‘behavioural routinisation’) with reference to party institutionalisation will be employed. Moreover, institutionalised party systems are characterized, according to Mainwaring and Torcal, by ‘stability of interparty competition’. The empirical research of this paper finds that the early organisational consolidation of social cleavages, such as in Indonesia, enhances institutionalisation. Furthermore, the relation between central and local elites appears to be essential: strong bosses or cliques undermine institutionalisation in the Philippines and in Thailand respectively. Most Indonesian parties are better institutionalised than those in the Philippines and Thailand with reference to ‘value infusion’. In addition, the party system in Indonesia is better institutionalised in terms of ‘stability of interparty competition’.

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PD Dr. Andreas Ufen is a senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies, and an adjunct professor for Political Science at the University of Hamburg. His research focuses upon political parties, populism, political Islam, and democratisation in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.