Politics-as-usual on trial: regional anti-corruption campaigns in Indonesia

TitlePolitics-as-usual on trial: regional anti-corruption campaigns in Indonesia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDavidson JS
JournalPacific Review
Date PublishedMar
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0951-2748
Accession NumberISI:000245106700004
Keywordscorruption, decentralization, democratic consolidation, Indonesian politics, rule of law formation

This article explores to what extent to local pro-reform actors matter in Indonesia through the prism of anti-corruption campaigns in the country's regions. I argue that the rash of anti-corruption campaigns and related trials involving legislative members, especially from mid-2004 onward, can be attributed neither to the resources lavished on anti-corruption organizations based in Jakarta, nor to the popularity of President Yudhoyono's anti-corruption rhetoric. Instead, it can be traced to a particular anti-corruption campaign that began in earnest in 2002 in Padang, West Sumatra. Using a multi-dimensional approach, a small group of activists relentlessly pursued their newly elected provincial legislators to be accountable to their democratic mandates and as important, to respect the rule of law pursuant to new national anti-corruption legislation. The guilty verdicts of May 2004 galvanized similar groups across the country to investigate their respective legislative bodies. This exemplary case of societal accountability also demonstrated the leverage activists can gain over local politicians when they forge coalitions with other elite actors, especially those in Jakarta. I further explore two anti-corruption cases in the province of West Kalimantan to place post-Padang developments in their proper perspective. If hopes were raised that regional anti-corruption movements-based on the Padang model-might accomplish more than sensational trials but help consolidate democracy at the regional level by holding elected officials accountable, these two examples show how fleeting these expectations might be. The trials that took place but which produced no convictions resulted from the fallout of local political tussles, and not from local civil society organizations galvanized by the ideals of transparency and good governance.

URL<Go to ISI>://000245106700004http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-33847765271&partnerID=40&md5=ab25b8f42e6c6e529bb9424d80e6d8f5
Alternate JournalPac. Rev.