Democracy, Political Parties and Corruption in Indonesia

  • Endang Turmudi
Keywords: Corruption, Democratisation, Election, Political Party, Regional Election


Scholars are in tune with each other about the important role of political parties in promoting and strengthening democracy and bridging the aspirations of the people with those who hold the power. Since the fall of Suharto and its subsequent political reforms, the number of political parties in Indonesia has grown large and there have been five national elections. However, despite being great in number, Indonesian political parties have not yet been institutionalised to maximum effect. To the extent that democracy has been developed, it has not been based on pure popular sovereignty but rather it has become what Aspinal and Berenschot (2019) refer to as a patronage democracy. Politicians have been prone to acts of corruption, which accounts for 61 percent of the corruption that occurs in Indonesia. With the implementation of competition between parties through elections having been accomplished, it would seem the requirements for democracy are in place. Yet the incidence of corruption signals something wrong in Indonesian politics in general and political parties in particular. This article examines both the national and regional elections in which Indonesian political parties vie for power. It will also attempt to understand why and how politicians continue to commit corrupt acts undeterred by the imprisonment of many such perpetrators.