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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Indonesia, a democracy teetering toward a police state

  • Endy M. Bayuni

    The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA   /   Sat, April 11 2009   /  10:09 am

For all its faults and shortcomings, this week’s legislative elections confirm that democracy is taking root in this country. The scale of the elections is so daunting — 171 million voters, more than 500,000 polling stations, and 15,000 seats at the national and regional legislatures — that something is bound to go wrong here and there. By and large, these elections have reaffirmed Indonesia’s claim as the world’s third largest democracy. As always, somebody has to spoil the day, and this time, of all people or institutions, it’s the National Police — the very force that is supposed to ensure the elections proceed in a democratic, free and fair fashion. There was the arrest of two whistle-blowers and the interrogation of journalists who reported their claims of election violations, and there was the arrest of Papuan students a few days ahead of the elections for...