Religiosity, parties and election: Islamization and democratization in post-Soeharto Indonesia

Pramono U Tanthowi


The political development in Indonesian during the first decade of reform era
witnesses a resurgence of Muslim politics, which had been facing a political impass
during the 1970s and 1980s. In contrast to current political development in the
Arab World, the resurgence of Muslim politics in Indonesia has been marching
hand in hand with democratization. The blossoming of tens of Islamic political
parties by no means that they speak with a single voice. Rather, political Islam is
now represented by parties with more diverse platforms. Those parties are not
only varied in their commitment to an Islamist agenda but also strongly divided
on this agenda. Yet, they all welcome and uphold “Muslim” aspirations. As far as
their performance in the 1999 and the 2004 elections is concerned, there was a
significant decline for Muslim politics compared to the first democratic election of
1955. The results reflected the minority appeal of Islamism, regardless of both
the fact that the majority of the Indonesians are Muslims and the fact that there
has been increasing Islamic revivalism within Indonesian society.



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