Saiful Mujani is the principal investigator and a founder of the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) and associate professor of political studiesat the Universitas Islam Negeri, Jakarta. R. William Liddle, professor of political science at Ohio State University, has published numerous books and articles on Indonesian politics. This essay draws upon an earlier version entitled “Voters and the New Indonesian Democracy” by Saiful Mujani and R. William Liddle, which will appear in Problems of Democratization in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society, edited by Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner (2010). It is published here with the kind permission of the publisher, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, bookshop.iseas.edu.sg
In elections to the 560-seat People’s Representation Council on 8 April 2009, Indonesian voters gave the Democratic Party (PD) of incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a remarkable victory with 21 percent of the vote, elevating it from a small party with only 55 seats to the legislature’s leading party with 150 seats. Three months later, on July 8, Yudhoyono won reelection to the presidency with 61 percent of the vote in the first round, easily avoiding a runoff. Former president Megawati Sukarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) finished second with 27 percent, and Golkar party candidate Muhammad Jusuf Kalla (Yudhoyono’s vice-president during his first term) trailed with 12 percent. The 2009 balloting marked the third legislative elections since the ousting of longtime strongman Suharto in 1998, but only the second presidential contest determined by popular vote. Prior to 2004, the president had been selected by the People’s Consultative Assembly, a kind of super-parliament consisting, in the early post-Suharto years, of the members of parliament plus additional members appointed by the president. Now, however, the people vote directly for a presidential ticket that includes candidates for both president and vice-president, who typically come from different parties.
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