Thomas Pepinsky, professor of Government at Cornell University, director of the International Political Economy Program and the Associate Director of the Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, discusses the long-term implications of Indonesia’s legislative elections April 9.
“Indonesia's April 9 legislative elections are noteworthy for the fact that they are now seen as ordinary, ‘business-as-usual’ for Indonesia.
“The results of the election are likely to disappoint many critics of the current state of Indonesian democracy who focus on the remaining weakness of governance and accountability.
“Many such critics had hoped that PDI-P, the party of populist presidential candidate Joko Widodo, would pull of a big win, enough to free it from the necessity of joining other parties in a coalition government. But the initial results have PDI-P with just shy of 20 percent of the legislative vote, a plurality, but far from the mandate hoped for by many.
“What is likely to follow is a complex game of coalition formation, and more of the politik dagang sapi – cow trading politics – that has generated weak governments and unaccountable politicians in Indonesia's recent elections. Rather than the breath of fresh air that many had hope these elections would augur, the most likely outcome is more of the same.”