chapter  6
Indonesia and the pitfalls of low-quality democracy: A case study of the gubernatorial elections in North Sulawesi
Pages 27

Since the fall of Suharto’s New Order regime in 1998, analysts of Indonesian politics have struggled to characterize the political system that has taken its place. In the early years of the post-Suharto polity, commentators tended to describe Indonesia’s government as a ‘hybrid regime’; that is, one that has both democratic and authoritarian features (Diamond 2002). Howard and Roessler (2006), for their part, classified the interim administration of B.J. Habibie as a ‘competitive authoritarian regime’ that changed its nature through a ‘liberalizing electoral outcome’ in 1999. What exactly it changed into, however, was left open to further analysis. Stepan and Robertson (2004) maintained that post-1999 Indonesia had become ‘electorally competitive’ and thus qualified as an ‘electoral democracy’. In their view, the elections of Presidents Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri contradicted the claims of those who asserted that Indonesia’s politics were still dominated by the armed forces, which allegedly yielded sufficient residual powers to overturn any political decision made by the civilian executive. Fukuyama (2005), on the other hand, submitted that the ‘perils of presidentialism’ during the Wahid period forced Indonesia to revamp its electoral system completely, leading to the direct elections of the president and vice president in 2004.