Power and Political Culture in Suharto’s Indonesia: The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) and Decline of the New Order (1986-98)

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by Stefan Eklöf

Under Indonesia’s authoritarian New Order regime, the continued existence of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) – with roots in Sukarno’s Indonesian National Party – was meant to demonstrate the ostensibly democratic character of the Suharto regime. In essence, this small nationalist-Christian coalition was meant to fill the role of a pliant state corporatist party. From the later 1980s, however, the PDI became more openly critical of government policies and came to stand out as the major proponent of reform within the formal political system. The government responded in 1996 by engineering the removal of the popular Megwati Sukarnoputri as PDI leader, a move that significantly damaged the popular legitimacy and moral standing of the regime. Within five years following the collapse of the New Order, Megawati was President of Indonesia and in 2015 her protégé Joko Widodo was elected President.

Against this background, the book assesses broader questions of political culture, political participation, regime maintenance and opposition in the late Suharto era. The political culture perspective provides a fresh understanding of politics under the New Order and its influence on the systems of power and political relations in post-Suharto Indonesia.

"This is a valuable contribution to the study of politics in Indonesia in the late Suharto period. … Eklöf deserves congratulation for giving us this analysis of PDI’s rather lamentable history." – M. C. Ricklefs, Asian Journal of Political Science, 13:2

"[T]his book maps a previously under-researched area of modern Indonesian politics and is certain to stand as the definitive history of the PDI under Suharto." – Janet Cochrane, ASEASUK Newsletter

Stefan Eklöf Amirell is an Indonesia expert, and has also published more generally about Southeast Asian politics and history. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship and history Ph. D at Lund University.

Publication year: 2004
352 pp / 216mm x 156mm
ISBN: 978-87-91114-50-2, Paperback

NIAS Press