As Indonesia prepares to elect a new parliament and president in the coming months, Deutsche Welle examines how political graft is undermining the Southeast Asian country’s democratic and economic achievements of the past decade.
Many analysts regard Indonesia’s accomplishments after the overthrow of longstanding authoritarian ruler Suharto in 1998 as remarkable. The world’s largest Muslim democracy with more than 250 million people has not only managed to expand its economy at an average rate of 5.5 percent over the past decade.
It has also undertaken “one of the most ambitious institutional reform programs attempted anywhere,” by rapidly decentralizing power, creating a constitutional court and a powerful anti-corruption commission,” according to the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI). …..
NDI Senior Program Officer David Caragliano argues in a recently published article on that with no clear presidential front-runner and a higher parliamentary threshold for parties to enter the national legislature, the elections could be the most closely contested in the nation’s history. Therefore, he argues, “the incentives for increased electoral manipulation, vote buying and fraud are clear, at a time when the independence and competence of electoral administrative bodies are increasingly under question.”