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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's eroding democracy: Death by a thousand cuts?

  • Jacqueline Hicks

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 27 2008   /  12:07 am

The normally sedate atmosphere within Indonesia's parliament was briefly disturbed recently when legislators burst from their usual lethargy to show signs of genuine concern. Months of debate and intensive lobbying went right to the wire as three government ministers adjourned a plenary session to zoom off and consult with the President before finally accepting a vote. What was all the commotion about? A subject very dear to legislators' hearts: their own grip on political power. Finally passed on March 3, the election law is the second of four to regulate how the 2009 elections will be fought. The first of the four, a bill on political parties adopted late last year, set the tone of things to come. With parties no longer required to undergo external audits of their private donations, it will become practically impossible to trace whose money is paying for next year's...