Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia: Money Politics, Patronage and Clientelism at the Grassroots

Author/s (editor/s):

Edward Aspinall

Publication year: 2016

Publication type: Book

Publisher: NUS Press

How do politicians win elected office in Indonesia? To find out, research teams fanned out across the country prior to Indonesia’s 2014 legislative election to record campaign events, interview candidates and canvassers, and observe their interactions with voters. They found that at the grassroots, political parties are less important than personal campaign teams and vote brokers who reach out to voters through a wide range of networks associated with religion, ethnicity, kinship, micro enterprises, sports clubs and voluntary groups of all sorts. Above all, candidates distribute patronage—cash, goods and other material benefits—to individual voters and to communities. Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia brings to light the scale and complexity of vote buying and the many uncertainties involved in this style of politics, providing an unusually intimate portrait of politics in a patronage-based system.

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