Indonesia’s Approaching Elections: A Year of Voting Dangerously?

Issue Date January 2004
Volume 15
Issue 1
Page Numbers 94-108
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Indonesia’s democratic experiment is scheduled to undergo an unprecedented series of political tests in 2004: legislative elections at national, provincial and district levels in April; the first round of a first-ever direct presidential election in July; and if no candidate wins an absolute majority on the first round, a second round of presidential balloting in September. These contests could exacerbate underlying cleavages, and the results could facilitate eventual deadlock between executive and legislative institutions. The greater danger, however, lies in the chance that future leaders may fail to alleviate corruption, violence, and poverty, discrediting democracy in the eyes of a public more concerned with performance than procedures.