Democracy for Sale: Indonesia's free-wheeling patronage democracy, 1998-2018
Based on a forthcoming book co-authored with Edward Aspinall (Cornell UP, fall 2018), Ward Berenschot will discuss the evolving character of election campaigns in Indonesia. While clientelistic vote mobilization - the exchange of personal favours for electoral support - dominates electoral strategies across much of the global south, Berenschot argues that Indonesia's 'patronage democracy' is distinctive because of the limited role of political parties. He will describe why politicians need to rely on non-party organisations as well as bureaucratic networks to build their campaign organization. This free-wheeling nature of election campaigns can help explain some of the salient features of Indonesia's democracy, such as the pervasiveness of vote buying, the electoral advantage of incumbents and the relative dominance of politicians with a bureaucratic background.
Ward Berenschot is a political scientist and a researcher at Leiden University, specializing in identity politics and local democracy in India and Indonesia.