Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia: Money Politics, Patronage and Clientelism at the Grassroots

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Edited by Edward Aspinall & Mada Sukmajati
Contributions by Rizkika Lhena Darwin, Teuku Muhammad Jafar Sulaiman, Ahmad Taufan Damanik, Ibrahim, Alamsyah, Muhammad Mahsun, Gandung Ismanto, Idris Thaha, Argoposo Cahyo Nugroho, Sita W. Dewi, S.L. Harjanto, Olivia D. Purba, Amalinda Savirani, Caroline Paskarina, Marzuki Wahid, Noor Rohman, Zusiana Elly Triantini, Rubaidi, Ahmad Zainul Hamdi, Ahmad Muhajir, Nono S.A. Sumampouw, Eve Warburton, Rudi Rohi, Ridwan and Cillian Nolan

How do politicians win elected office in Indonesia? To find out, research teams fanned out across the country prior to Indonesia’s 2014 legislative election to record campaign events, interview candidates and canvassers, and observe their interactions with voters. They found that at the grassroots, political parties are less important than personal campaign teams and vote brokers who reach out to voters through a wide range of networks associated with religion, ethnicity, kinship, micro enterprises, sports clubs and voluntary groups of all sorts. Above all, candidates distribute patronage—cash, goods and other material benefits—to individual voters and to communities. Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia brings to light the scale and complexity of vote buying and the many uncertainties involved in this style of politics, providing an unusually intimate portrait of politics in a patronage-based system.

"...a collection of essays that will quickly become a reference point for scholars interested in electoral politics and voter-politician linkages in Indonesia...a journey of remarkable empirical depth and geographical reach,"
Diego Fossati, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

"This volume contains an incredibly valuable treasure trove of insights that delve beneath the legality of Indonesia's electoral system."
Kevin Evans

"The book is commendable for its descriptive richness, giving readers a very strong sense of the processes through which politicians campaigned and mobilized voters at the local level ina wide variety of different kinds of localities across the full breadth of the Indonesian archipelago."
John T. Sidel, London School of Economics and Political Science


Edward Aspinall is professor of politics at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.
Mada Sukmajati is lecturer in the Department of Government and Political Science, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

Publication Year: 2016
472 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-981-4722-04-9

NUS Press