Official Results

The official results of the 2009 legislative elections are in. Here is the breakdown of all the parties that got enough votes to get seats in parliament.

Party Perc. Seats
Democratic Party (PD)  20.85 148
of the Functional Groups (Golkar) 
14.45 108
Democratic Party–Struggle (PDI–P) 
14.03 93
Justice Party (PKS) 
7.88 59
Mandate Party (PAN) 
6.01 42
Development Party (PPP) 
5.32 39
Awakening Party (PKB) 
4.94 26
Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) 
4.46 30
Conscience Party (Hanura) 
3.77 15

These results show a couple of things. First, the biggest parties by far are the non-Islamic ones (these are the first three). Second, the personal parties of former military leaders do surprisingly well, given that with the exception of PD they were formed just about a year ago (these are the last two). Let's look now at the development of parties over time.

Three Rounds of Democratic Elections



I leave off Hanura and Gerindra because trends don't make sense with one data point each. But if you look at the trends over time, you can that there are only two parties that have increased their vote shares since 1999: PD and the conservative Islamist PKS. (In 1999 PKS ran under a different name.) All other parties have seen their support eroding: the nationalist ones (Golkar and PDI-P, the moderate Islamic-nationalist ones (PKB and PAN), and the Islamic one (PPP). (Two additional conservative Islamic parties, PBR and PBB, did so poorly in this election that they no longer have seats in parliament.) Even PKS, though, didn't do great…it's vote share is up less than 1% from 2004, and in absolute terms it actually received fewer votes compared to 2004. The only party that really increased its vote share is PD.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around what this all means. One might read this as encouraging: Islamist support is dwindling. I think that this is right, but there's another, less optimistic way to read this. The traditional nationalist powerhouses are becoming obsolete. The newcomer nationalist party is doing very well, but we know that it won't survive to 2014 because it's purely a personal vehicle for SBY. There's no successor being groomed, and SBY can't run again in 2014, so we can't expect PD to draw any support in 2014. So who will step up? A lot of civil society people worry that if Golkar and PDI-P can't reverse their steep declines–and I don't foresee them being able to do this–the most likely option will be PKS, whose on-the-ground organization is the envy of all other parties (even if its popular support right now isn't very high). This would be worrying.

Comments 4

  1. JMP May 11, 2009

    I like the integrated graphs and pictures, they’re pretty high tech. The graph is very interesting and it is worrisome that all the old parties are nosediving and unlikely to recover. But don’t things change so quickly in politics there sometimes that almost anything could happy before the next election? SBY might get moving and provide a successor, who knows! (trying to be optimistic here….)

  2. Ujang May 12, 2009

    If the voter base of PD are people who would otherwise voted for PDI-P or Golkar had SBY was not on the ticket, we probably shouldn’t worry that much about their switching to PKS. The worry is that they may give their votes to Gerindra, Hanura – which would be scary in itself- and that might push PKS higher. I want to be as optimistic as JMP to say that PD may probably have started to groom someone not necessarily from their ranks. If not it should be their priority. I think they should be able to recruit good people from the civil society or even from Golkar and PDI-P (they’re not civil society? ha!), hopefully those not too tainted by KKN etc. Anyway, choosing Boediono is probably a good sign.

  3. Tom May 12, 2009

    I agree with both of you. JMP, I do know that SBY is interested in professionalizing and institutionalizing PD–he’s realistic about this, and he is a true professional. It’s just that it’s hard to do this in five years. He can want to do this, but the incentives are all messed up, for he has to be able to tell apart those who share his vision from the sycophants who just want to bandwagon.
    Ujang, that’s a great point. I’ve always wanted to know how to show that there is a fixed group of nationalist voters that are shared by nationalist parties, and Islamist voters shared by Islamic parties, and that voters don’t switch across these party types. I suspect that this is true, but I’m not sure. Your fear about Gerindra and Hanura is also a very, very important one. This would arguably be even worse for democracy than PKS! Wiranto’s going to be old (67) in 2014, but not Prabowo. I’m trying to write something for Inside Indonesia that makes this very point. Most importantly, though, choosing Boediono is an extremely good sign. Let’s hope that Mega blesses the union and steps aside.

  4. jchwang May 22, 2009

    I don’t think the line between nationalist and Islamist voter is a fixed one– First, in the run up to the election, even the nationalist parties were trying to appeal to Islamist-inclined voters by supporting the Porn bill. Many of the Perda syariah have been passed by Golkar mayors/regents (or PKB/PAN ones).
    Second, PAN and PKB are in the muddy middle ground–in 2004, most of PKS’ bump came from disgruntled PAN voters, but not, interestingly enough, from disgruntled PKB voters. This time, PKS did not increase its share of the vote but instead more or less maintained its share of the vote. But did it maintain the same pool of voters? That, I am not so sure. First, there has been a great deal of tension between Muhammadiyah and PKS over the mosque infiltration issue and using Ahmad Dahlan in their campaign ads without permission. This may have caused some Muhammadiyah members w/in PAN to reconsider PKS.
    Third, P3 also declined in its share of the vote. The question is whether PKS’ slight increase vis-a-vis its 2004 total was due to a swing from the “exclusive Islamists” or the “inclusive Islamists” to use Baswedan’s terms. PKS was making news on many Islamist issues in the run up to the Pemilu (jaipongan, the fatwa golput, the porn bill, etc….).
    I think one interesting thing to remember in 2009 is that 20 percent of the voting public claimed to be undecided right up till the end. I don’t think we can rule out the idea that some of those in the 2004 muddy middle swung from PKS to Demokrat. After all, Demokrat has supported some rather Islamist positions like the Porn bill and they are perceived as cleaner than Golkar, due to SBY’s reputation.

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