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Jakarta Post

A tough battle for incumbent leader

  • Nico Harjanto

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 7 2012   /  12:27 pm

The advantage of incumbency is unavoidable in any election. Popularity, access to campaign resources and influence over the bureaucracy are attached to the holders of power.

In the seven years since the inception of direct elections for local executives, there have been many incumbents who have successfully won reelection. Some of them have even succeeded in transferring power to their relatives or wives, reflecting a burgeoning trend political familism.

In the US, according to one study, 94 percent of incumbents were reelected in elections for the US House of Representatives in 2008. From the period of 1964 to 2008, on average 93 percent of incumbent House legislators and 81 percent of incumbent senators retained their seats. This clearly shows how incumbency can affect supposedly level playing field in the election.

There were also losses suffered by successful in...