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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Institutional reform and party systems : how direct presidential elections fragmented the 2004 Indonesian legislative vote Allen, Nathan Wallace


It has long been noted that low district magnitudes tend to produce consolidated party systems. Between 1999 and 2004, Indonesia considerably reduced its district magnitude, yet experienced a significant increase in party fragmentation. Why did Indonesia's party system fragment under institutional pressure to consolidate? This thesis demonstrates that district magnitude did not affect the fragmentation of the legislative vote in Indonesia. The cause of the increased party fragmentation was the introduction of direct presidential elections. Aspiring presidential candidates bypassed the established party system and introduced their own parties as presidential vehicles in the legislative election. Voters also used their ballots to express different preferences in the legislative and executive elections, supporting inclusive leaders that could guarantee national unity in the presidential election and smaller ideological or sectarian parties in the legislative contest. The introduction of presidential vehicles combined with voters' increased willingness to support non-presidential parties effectively explain the increase in party fragmentation.

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