[Marxism] Re: The Presidential Election in Indonesia

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Jul 4 20:54:51 MDT 2004

Suresh wrote: 
>>it appears from a distance that this campaign was as
devoid of ideological content as the recent elections
in the Philippines<<

I'll post some thoughts when we know how the vote comes out. It's certainly
true that if you read the speeches, there is very little overt political
content. There is, however, plenty of sub-text.

Assuming the polls are right, the votes are swinging heavily to Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) although he started out without nothing like the
political machines enjoyed by Wiranto and Megawati. Judging by what we know
of the earlier parliamentary election round, it seems likely his appeal is
primarly that of a perceived outsider free of corruption.  This is a major
issue: consider that 43 out of 50 members of the West Sumatran provincial
parliament are on corruption charges, while 100 km or so inland from the
West Sumatran provincial capital of Padang, the entire local council of the
city of Payakumbuh is being charged.

There is also a certain desire for stability -- When I was there last
month, people told me that under Megawati there had been too much unrest.
They wanted an ex-general to stop this. Actually there has been much less
political unrest than in Suharto's last couple of years, but what this
sentiment really means is that Indonesian society is a mess and most people
are very tired. 

YOu might ask where the left is? The unfortunate answer is "nowhere much".
The main left group (the PRD) tried to put together an electoral alliance
but couldn't get it registered as a party. On the positive side, the left
does seem to be resisting the temptation to rally behind Megawati out of
fear of the generals. Megawati is, in fact, very very friendly with the

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