Indonesia Inquiry

Elections in Indonesia (Annotated Bibliography)

November 5, 2014 Annotated Bibliographies Data Research Resources 0

Elections in Indonesia (Annotated Bibliography)

Compiled by: Regina Salinas

Directed Individual Study, Fall 2014

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

“Direct Presidential Elections for Indonesia.” Far Eastern Economic Review 165 (August): 10. (September 21, 2014).*

Indonesia’s top legislative body, the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR, agreed to introduce direct presidential elections in the next national poll, due in 2004. The new system would introduce an electoral process that calls for a second round of balloting if no single candidate achieves more than 50% of the vote in the first round. The MPR must now to pass legislation enforcing the new framework. Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, the nation has only indirectly chosen its leader through a boo-member body that has been responsible for choosing the president. The MPR also voted to abolish 38 unelected parliamentary seats reserved for the military by 2004– five years earlier than planned-and rejected calls by two parties to introduce Islamic law.

* Far Eastern Economic Review is defunct as of 2013; Please see website for more information:

Agus, Trihartono. 2013. “Beyond Measuring the Voice of the People: The Evolving Role of Political Polling in Indonesia’s Local Leader Elections.” Southeast Asian Studies 3 (March): 151-182.

Since 2005, political polling and the application of polls-based candidacy have been enormously influential and, in fact, have become vital for local leader elections (Pilkada), particularly in Indonesia’s districts and municipalities. The Golkar Party’s declaration that it was moving to polls-based candidacy created a domino effect, inducing other major political parties—such as the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional, PAN), the Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat, PD), and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan, PDIP)—to follow Golkar’s approach to contesting local constituencies. As polling becomes a new device for reforming the political recruitment process, political polling exercises have also unintendedly transformed into a means for waging a power struggle. Political actors have exploited polling as a tool for gaining a political vehicle, as a map for soliciting bribes, as a map for guiding the mobilization of votes, and as a means for inviting an indirect bandwagon effect. In short, political polling has moved beyond acting as a tracker of voters’ preferences to become a popular political device.

Antlöv, Hans and Sven Cederroth. 2004. Elections in Indonesia: The New Order and Beyond. Oxon, UK: Psychology Press.

It has sometimes been argued that many Indonesians had little sympathy with western notions of elections being events for the contesting and transfer of power and that they rather supported the New Order’s use of ‘festivals of democracy’, elections as occasions at which the mass of ordinary Indonesians were given the opportunity to celebrate the country’s achievements under the rule of its New Order leadership as well as legitimize the continued rule of these leaders. But the need to stage-manage these ‘elections’ as New Order triumphs finally undid the regime. With chapters describing the last New Order election and the first free election in the post-Suharto era, this volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of the demise of the New Order, and the directions being taken by the emerging regime.

Aspinall, Edward and Meitzner, Marcus. 2010. Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Alternately lauded as a democratic success story and decried as a flawed democracy, Indonesia deserves serious consideration by anyone concerned with the global state of democracy. Yet, more than ten years after the collapse of the authoritarian Suharto regime, we still know little about how the key institutions of Indonesian democracy actually function. This book, written by leading democracy experts and scholars of Indonesia, presents a sorely needed study of the inner workings of Indonesia’s political system, and its interactions with society. Combining careful case studies with an eye to the big picture, it is an indispensable guide to democratic Indonesia, its achievements, shortcomings and continuing challenges.

Barter, Joshua. 2011 “The Free Aceh Elections? The 2009 Legislative Contests In Aceh.” Indonesia 91 (April): 113-130.

The article discusses the 2009 legislative elections held in the Indonesian region of Aceh as a means to explore the wider topic of the democratization of the Indonesian government. The performance of Partai Aceh, a former rebel group associated with the region, during the election is assessed through an analysis of electoral returns. The influence of local elections on the development of Aceh’s political autonomy is explained, as are their ability to defuse ethno-secessionist conflict. A history of Aceh’s ethnic and anti-colonial conflict is also provided.

Bokhari, Kamran. 2014. “Indonesia Picks a New Government.” Stratfor Analysis (April): 28.

The article discusses elections in Indonesia to be held on April 2014. The topics discussed include history of democracy in the country, the possible victory of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Indonesia, and political support for Indonesian politician Joko Widodo. Also discussed are geopolitical issues related to Indonesia and Indonesia’s growing working-age population.

Bokhari, Kamran. 2014. “Indonesians Vote for the Status Quo.” Stratfor Analysis (March): 29.

The article discusses the outcome legislative election in Indonesia held on April 9, 2014. The topics discussed include defeat of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the popularity of Indonesian politician Joko Widodo, and rise of small political parties in Indonesia. Also discussed are employment and wage pressure in Indonesia.

Boudreau, Vince. 2009. “Elections, Repression and Authoritarian Survival in Post-Transition Indonesia and the Philippines.” Pacific Review 22 (May): 233-253.

This article compares post-transition Philippines and Indonesia, examining the ways in which authoritarian practices survive and are shaped by regime transition. It examines the transition process in each case, to identify the problems of management and control that regime elites set for themselves in the post-dictatorship period. It is argued that Philippine elites set out to disaggregate and domesticate an already mobilized opposition movement, while the Indonesian authorities strove to keep similar popular politics from mobilizing. The paper then considers how these political objectives find expression in the structuring of two important institutional fields – the electoral and policy making processes – concluding with an examination of how these considerations influence patterns of repression. In particular, the paper also investigates whether repression targets primarily proscribed modes of activity, or sets out to threaten and intimidate proscribed organizations and people. Differences in electoral and policy processes, as well as in patterns of repression, demonstrate the ways in which authoritarianism can survive regime transitions and can undermine the promise of democracy in the post-dictatorship period.

Choi, Nankyung. 2007. “Local Elections and Democracy in Indonesia: The Riau Archipelago.” Journal of Contemporary Asia (August): 326-345.

The article examines the dynamics and outcomes of local government elections in the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia. It is considered that understanding the dynamics of this political affair can contribute to efforts in improving the fairness and quality of the country’s future elections. Tracking of elections in the region and other localities suggest that the national parties play a significant role in deciding who is allowed to compete in elections for local office but they have lost out to the local imperatives of coalition-building and electoral victory. The author argues that the local elections have indeed transformed the dynamics of the region’s local politics.

Dagg, Christopher J. 2007. “The 2004 elections in Indonesia: Political Reform and Democratisation.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint (April): 47-59.

The 2004 elections in Indonesia were incredibly complex logistically, resulted in reshaped representative institutions, and allowed presidential elections by direct vote for the first time. This paper analyses the reform processes that surrounded these elections, including reforms to the representative institutions, and the legislative and presidential elections. The different strategies of the main political personalities are analysed, and the results of the legislative elections, and both the first and second presidential election rounds, are evaluated. The paper demonstrates that the elections hold several important messages for Indonesian politicians regarding electoral expectations, and how these are changing rapidly in the post-Suharto era. Accountability, good governance and social development are among the key factors that are seen to have been important in swaying political votes, rather than traditional voting loyalties.

Einhorn, Bruce, Andrew Janes, and Yudith Ho. 2014. “Indonesia’s Election Has Investors on Edge.” Bloomberg Businessweek (July): 16-17.

The article focuses on the presidential election in Indonesia to be held on July 9, 2014. Topics include the popularity of candidates Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, Subianto’s relationship with Aburizal Bakrie, chairman of the Golkar Party, and the problem of corruption in government. Information is provided on the economic conditions in Indonesia in 2014.

Eklof, Stefan. 1997. “The 1997 General Election in Indonesia.” Asian Survey 37 (December): 1181-1196.

On May 29, 1997, Indonesia went to the polls in the country’s sixth parliamentary election under its present regime, this so-called New Order under President Suharto. The elections came after an uneasy year with growing signs of popular discontent in the country. Serious riots with social, religious, and ethnic undertones had occurred in several places around Java as well as in West Kalimantan. Since the late 1980s, the calls for more democracy and respect for human rights from students, intellectuals, and nongovernmental organization activists have grown increasingly louder. Under these circumstances, the election was a crucial event, and it was important for the government that its results demonstrate renewed popular support for the authoritarian regime.

Erb, Maribeth and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto. 2009. Deepening Democracy in Indonesia? Direct Elections for Local Leaders (Pilkada). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Since the fall of long-reigning President Suharto, in 1998, Indonesia has been in an era of transition, away from an authoritarian regime, and on a “quest for democracy”. This quest started with decentralization laws implemented in 2001, which gave greater autonomy to the regions, and continued with the direct elections for the national and local legislatures and the President in 2004. The latest development in this democratization process is the implementation of a system for the direct election of regional leaders, which began in 2005; the first round of elections across the nation for all governors, mayors and district heads was completed in 2008. Authors of the chapters in this volume, the result of a workshop in Singapore in 2006, present data from across the archipelago for these first direct elections for local leaders and give their assessment as to how far these elections have contributed to a “deepening democracy”.

Feillard, Andree. 2013. “Before the 2014 Elections: A Predictable Fall.” Archipel 86 (October): 235-261.

The article discusses the religious and political changes Indonesia faced from the 2000s to 2013 and considers the potential fall of political Islam in 2014. It discusses the presence of violence, the persecution of Shiites and Christians, and the influence of the Indonesian Islamic reformist organization Muhammadiyah. Topics include Anas Urbaningrum, the chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party, the nomination of Anis Matta as head of the Indonesian Prosperous Justice Party, the government’s measures against religious conservatism, and the prohibition of hijabs, or Islamic veils, at the State police which raised human rights concerns among various Islamic organizations.

Hamid, Abdul. 2014. “Jokowi’s Populism in the 2012 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election.” Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 33 (January 2014): 85.

Joko Widodo’s victory in the 2012 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election could be seen as a populist phenomenon. An outsider to Jakarta politics, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) beat the incumbent, Fauzi Bowo (Foke), who had received strong support from political parties. Using populism as an analytical tool, this paper argues that the following four factors enabled Jokowi to emerge as an alternative leader in Indonesia’s capital: social breakdown and declining capability of the government; corrupt, draining political traditions and a negative image of political parties; societal changes; and the emergence of forms of political representation outside of traditional political institutions. Those situations led Jakarta voters to more easily accept Jokowi’s offer – “New Jakarta” (Jakarta Baru) – as a new identity against the established regime. Populism can help explain Jokowi’s victory in the election, but also the leadership of his administration after he was elected.

Heilman, James. 2001. “Proceedings of the 2001 Symposium: International Elections Monitoring: Should Democracy Be a Right?: Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA): Observation Mission Report Indonesian General Elections June 1999.” Wisconsin International Law Journal 19 (October): 339.

Indonesia’s political establishment was dramatically transformed when President Suharto resigned on May 21, 1998, ending 32 years of authoritarian rule. His successor, President B.J. Habibie, called for democratic elections in response to the aspirations of the Indonesian people whose protests led to the demise of Suharto’s presidency. Habibie promised to revise electoral laws and hold elections by mid-1999. Keeping his word, in November 1998 he announced that national, provincial, and district legislative elections would be held in June 1999. However, the transparency and legitimacy of the elections remained in question due to factors including severe and worsening economic hardships, student agitation, the president’s ability to maintain power and stability, and social unrest. In addition, Indonesia had held sham elections since the 1960s, so the electorate was suspicious of the government’s declared intention to conduct credible and fair elections. In previous polls, the final vote count only confirmed the ruling party’s lock on power. In June 1999, it would be up to the government, election officials, and monitors to convince voters that the results of this election were not pre-determined. The international community was also concerned about the prospects for the June 1999 elections given the Indonesian government’s electoral history. The United States and other donor countries thus supported election monitoring and observation efforts by domestic and international organizations in the hope of improving the political atmosphere, setting new standards for Indonesian elections, and strengthening the capacity of Indonesian organizations to monitor the election process.

Hyde, Susan. 2010. “Experimenting in Democracy Promotion: International Observers and the 2004 Presidential Elections in Indonesia.” Perspectives on Politics (June): 511.

Randomized field experiments have gained attention within the social sciences and the field of democracy promotion as an influential tool for causal inference and a potentially powerful method of impact evaluation. With an eye toward facilitating field experimentation in democracy promotion, I present the first field-experimental study of international election monitoring, which should be of interest to both practitioners and academics. I discuss field experiments as a promising method for evaluating the effects of democracy assistance programs. Applied to the 2004 presidential elections in Indonesia, the random assignment of international election observers reveals that even though the election was widely regarded as democratic, the presence of observers had a measurable effect on votes cast for the incumbent candidate, indicating that such democracy assistance can influence election quality even in the absence of blatant election-day fraud.

Kapoor, Kanupriya. 2014. “Indonesian President Yudhoyono Backs Direct Election of District Leaders.” September 15. (September 14, 2014).

Indonesia’s outgoing president has spoken out in favor of retaining direct elections for governors and mayors, saying democratic reforms had to be protected. Indonesia’s parliament has proposed doing away with direct elections for provincial, district and city leaders, saying legislative assemblies in those jurisdictions should fill those posts. Critics say that doing away with such elections would damage the development of democracy and entrench the authority of old elites and their patronage politics.

King, Dwight. 2010. The White Book: On the 1992 General Election in Indonesia. Singapore: Equinox Publishing.

The White Book contains not only a detailed accounting of infractions and fraud that occurred during the campaign and election process, but also a fundamental critique of the system of popular representation under the New Order, of which general elections are only a part. This critique arises, in the first instance, from the discrepancy between New Order laws, regulations, and rhetoric on the one hand, and actual practices on the other. But it also arises from a deeper — some would say idealistic — vision of popular democracy in Indonesia, including the role of political parties, elections, and the rule of law. In this vision, some basic human rights, including the political right to abstain in elections, are inviolate. The White Book, while presenting a fundamental critique of general elections in the New Order political system, also documents numerous infractions that occurred in the conduct or actual practice of the 1992 election. This in itself must have been a difficult task. Still remaining is a comparison of 1992 against the conduct of previous elections. The question intrigues serious students of Indonesian politics: overall, how did the conduct of the 1992 election measure up against previous New Order elections? It seems fair to conclude that in 1992 there was less overt intervention by the Armed Forces in favor of Golkar than in previous elections, and that the 1992 election was implemented in a more neutral fashion at both the upper or central and the provincial levels. But there was little change at the lower levels, where numerous violations and manipulations occurred in such aspects as the distribution of summonses needed to vote, the presence of party witnesses at polling places, attention paid to witnesses’ complaints, meaningful participation of party representatives in committees (PPS and KPPS), and the initial compilation of the votes.

Kingsley, J. 2012.”Peacemakers or Peace-Breakers? Provincial Elections and Religious Leadership in Lombok, Indonesia.” Indonesia (April): 53.

The first direct election of a provincial governor on the eastern Indonesian island of Lombok during 2008 precipitated concerns about an outbreak of politically motivated communal violence. However, violence did not eventuate. I argue that cooperation between state officials and non-state religious leaders was central to sustaining social harmony. Local Islamic religious leaders, Tuan Guru, were pivotal in facilitating grassroots efforts to avoid conflict during the 2008 gubernatorial elections. This article also acknowledges that Tuan Gurucan cause social and political instability if they desire. Careful groundwork for elections can potentially avert communal or political violence. As governments across Indonesia prepare for new rounds of national, provincial, and local elections in the coming years, the lessons learned in Lombok are instructive.

Laia, Kennial. Jakarta Globe. 2014. “Constitutional Court Set to Rule on Election Dispute.” August 21. (September 14, 2014).

The country’s highest court is widely expected to reject Prabowo Subianto’s bid for a revote. Prabowo’s likely dissatisfaction with the Constitutional Court raised concerns over the possibility of rioting and violence — with party officials in the camp, including Prabowo himself, having continued to deliver fiery speeches seemingly aimed at undermining Joko’s assumption of the presidency in October.

Manik, H. Antara News. 2014. “Election Participation Down: Commisioner.” July 23. (September 14, 2014).

Public participation in the Indonesian presidential election this year has been recorded lower than in 2009. The participation has been about 70 percent. At the national level, the trend is down, but at the global level, average. The calculations/percentages are based on the total number of legitimate and non-legitimate votes, and a list of fixed voters.

McRae, Dave. 2013. “Indonesian politics in 2013: The Emergence of New Leadership?.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 49 (December): 289-304.

The rise of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) from small-town mayor to presidential frontrunner asks again whether new, alternative leaders could enter Indonesian politics in the 2014 elections. This article surveys Jokowi’s impact on Indonesian politics over the past 12 months, and examines whether his election as Jakarta governor, and his evident popularity, has opened the way for alternative candidates at local level, or if it has changed parties’ calculations for the presidential election. The article concludes by considering whether a new leader could tackle some of the entrenched defects of democracy in Indonesia, given that he or she may have only minority support in the parliament. The article focuses in particular on corrupt law enforcement, the military and the rule of law, and violent religious intolerance.

Montlake, Simon. 2009. “Indonesia’s Flawed Election Setback.” Far Eastern Economic Review 172 (May): 52-54.

The article describes the legislative elections in Indonesia on April 9, 2009. It highlights on election irregularities in which voters were dismayed to the reports of inaccurate voter rolls, along with their disappointment to their leaders did not make their promise for economic and social improvement. With the irregularities experienced by both voters and spectators, analysts are looking at the condition of democracy of nation and how it is being understood. An overview of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s political machinations related to the elections is provided.

Park, Donghyun. 1997. “Indonesia’s Parliamentary Elections.” Contemporary Review 271 (September): 113.

Golkar, the government-led political party in Indonesia, won by a vast margin in the country’s election of legislative representatives held in May 1997. The cause of its landslide win can be attributed to the administration’s machinations a year before the elections. President Suharto’s administration took advantage of conflicts within the primary opposition party, Christian Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), and successfully ousted its leader, Megawati. PDI was further weakened by its supporters’ transfer of allegiance to the other opposition party.

Pisani, Elizabeth. 2014. “Indonesia in Pieces.” Foreign Affairs 93 (July): 142-152.

The article looks at politics and government in Indonesia, as of 2014. It cites the country’s April 2014 parliamentary election, saying that no party reached the threshold to govern without forming a coalition. The author says that the incumbent coalition government under Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been relatively ineffective. She outlines the country’s process of democratization and presents a case for the view that devolution policies of recent years have rendered the country’s political system less able to form effective governments at the national level. Topics include the growth in the number of political subdivisions, patronage and campaign finance, economic conditions, and Jakarta, Indonesia, Governor Joko Widodo of the Democratic Party of Struggle.

Quiano, Kathy. CNN. 2014. “Winner of Indonesia Presidential Race Breaks the Mold.” July 22. (September 14, 2014).

Jakarta governor and former furniture salesman Joko “Jokowi” Widodo won Indonesia’s presidential election, officials said Tuesday, setting him up to be the first person who didn’t boast a military or elite background to take the office.

Rahadiana, Rieka and Neil Chatterjee. Chicago Tribune. 2014. “Indonesia’s decade of direct local ballots at risk.” September 17. (September 21, 2014).

Indonesia’s incoming president began his political ascent as a mayor in a system of local elections. The parties of the candidate he beat in July will try to change the law next week to prevent that happening again. Lawmakers will vote Sept. 25 on a bill to revise a 2004 law on regional government that enabled direct elections. The draft would turn the clock back to a system of local assemblies choosing regional leaders that was created after the downfall of the late dictator Suharto.

Robert Endi Jaweng. The Conversation. 2014. ” Indonesian Reform Threatened by Return to Indirect Regional Elections.” September 15. (September 14, 2014).

Indonesians might lose their rights to directly elect local leaders as opponents of president-elect Joko Widodo are pushing to eliminate direct regional elections.

Sihaloho, Markus Junianto. Jakarta Globe. 2014. “PKS: End to Direct Local Elections Is in People’s Best Interest.” September 10. (September 14, 2014).

Despite widespread resistance to the regional elections bill, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) says an end to direct elections of governors, district heads and mayors would be in the people’s best interest.

Singh, Bilveer. 2003. “The 2004 Presidential Elections in Indonesia: Much Ado about Nothing?.” Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International & Strategic Affairs 25 (December): 431-448.

Electoral reforms are important for transitional democracies such as Indonesia, especially when the country has experienced long periods of authoritarian rule with too much power vested in the presidency. The reforms instituted in the post-Suharto period have totally transformed Indonesia. Some observers have argued that the country is moving too fast as evident from continued instability and disorder as well as the proliferation of various acts of violence since May 1998. In this regard, the institution of the direct election of the president in 2004 will mark a watershed departure from the past. Yet, at the same time, judging from the political architecture of the country as well as the existence of various political groups and élites, not much change can be expected. Even though there is a proliferation of political activity, the ability of these groups to grab power remains largely limited. To that extent, the new system of electing the president and vice-president is unlikely to lead to a massive change of power structure in the country’s politics for the forseeable future. The incumbent, Megawati Sukarnoputri, will most likely be returned to power with minor changes in the Indonesian political scene.

Soesarto, Hadi. 1999. “The 1999 Election and Beyond.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 35 (August): 139.

The article focuses on the result of June 1999 general election in Indonesia, the Delegation of PDIP (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle), PKB (People’s Awakening Party), PPP (Muslim Development Party), PAN (National Mandate Party), and the DPDR I (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah I). Also, the article touches on the details of the bargaining and consensus making in the election while also, analyzing the policies of the parties.

Sukma, Rizal. 2009. “Indonesian politics in 2009: Defective Elections, Resilient Democracy.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 45 (December): 317-336.

The many problems encountered in managing the 2009 elections, including contested outcomes and post-election political bickering, point to continuing defects in Indonesia’s democracy. At the same time, the country has demonstrated a degree of democratic resilience. While the results of the April legislative elections confirm a slow but steady change in electoral politics, the July presidential election also highlights a degree of continuity through the re-election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However, the incumbent’s landslide victory does not guarantee that his second term will be more effective than the first. Democracy will still face a host of challenges emanating from persistent problems of governance and resurgent terrorist threats. Nonetheless, there are reasons to believe that Indonesia will continue to display a remarkable degree of resilience in withstanding those challenges.

Sulistiyanto, Priyambudi. “The May 1997 General Election in Indonesia – What Went Wrong?.” Current Affairs Bulletin 2 (September): 13.

Elections in Indonesia may be officially free, but political improprieties raise doubt among voters and the international community. Indonesia’s ruling party claimed overwhelming victory in the May 1997 election, stating the results proved voters preferred the continuity of political stability. However, election results showed a high protest vote attributed to the government’s removal of the most popular opposition candidate from the race.

Suryadinata, Leo. 2004. “Indonesia’s 2004 Election: Certainty in Uncertainty.” Regional Outlook (January): 16-17.

The article discusses the 2004 democratic election in Indonesia, schedule of the parliamentary and presidential elections. Also, the article addresses the estimated number of political parties that registered for the election. The potential end of the military’s involvement in Indonesian politics is also addressed.

Suryadinata, Leo. 2002. Elections and Politics in Indonesia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Analyses the 1999 general election and the subsequent presidential election in the broader context of Indonesian elections and politics. It highlights major characteristics of Indonesian society and culture which affect electoral behaviour, namely ethnicity, regionalism and religion.

Van Der Kroef, J. 1957. “Indonesia’s First National Election.” American Journal of Economics & Sociology 16 (April): 237-250.

The article presents a sociological analysis of the Indonesia’s first national election. On September 29, 1955, Indonesians went to the polls in their first and often postponed national election; on the following December 15 they went again to cast their ballots for the members of a Constituent Assembly which will draft Indonesia’s permanent Constitution. The results of the voting are not only significant in terms of the future governmental structure and policies of the young Republic of Indonesia. More importantly, perhaps, they provide with invaluable clues to processes of social reorganization, formation of new classes and class interests and to resulting social structural tensions now evident in the country. In an area such as Indonesia where reliable sociological data are still so very scarce, the election results may be fairly interpreted in a broader social context and, if used with circumspection, may provide useful insights into the complex process of social change. Even more perhaps than in some other Asian countries, political parties in Indonesia must be understood as relatively small potential elites competing with each other for the support of the untutored and the–to a large extent–still inarticulate, mass. Prior to the election the intangibles of personality appeal and sheer opportunism determined party formation.