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Jakarta Post

How democracy dies

  • Editorial board


Jakarta   /   Fri, September 25 2020   /  01:00 am
The KPK can only flourish where its independence is guaranteed. If it becomes answerable to the executive it is supposed to oversee, under the orders of government cronies chosen for political convenience, the notion that it could offer any real resistance to corruption would be laughable. Laughable, that is, were the inevitable impact on Indonesian democracy not so truly tragic.(JP/Donny Fernando)

Democracy doesn't die in one fell swoop. It is not like a train rolling into town and making an abrupt stop. Gone are the days when soldiers in military fatigue brandishing assault weapons patrol the city in tanks and declare martial law. If and when democracy dies, it is likely the result of thousands cuts and stabs directed at the body politic, cutting its life support and destroying its nerve system. The demise of a liberal democratic regime will likely end up giving birth to an autocrat or a populist leader, but the process to chip away democracy result from collective action taken by a political elite that acts solely on self-interest. To secure patronage networks built around the political party system, elites make efforts to take effective control of political parties, packing their central boards with family members and minions, an act that, in the long run, could blunt...