Angels and Demons: Michael Buehler on direct gubernatorial elections

I really enjoyed Micheal Buehler’s recent article in Inside Indonesia titled Angels and Demons.  He contrasts the support of renowned former governor of West Sumatra and current Interior Minister, Gamawan Fauzi, for the abolishment of direct gubernatorial elections with the support of the controversial Governor of South Sulawesi and Head of the Provincial Government Association (APPSI), Syahrul Yasin Limpo, for keeping them in place.  He also rips into the international development community for their superficial understanding of local politics and the individuals they champion as reformers.   Although not central to his argument, his comments on how governors can keep corruption prosecutions at bay but not influence the higher echolons of party politics very much aligns with my research on local corruption prosecutions:

So why then does Fauzi’s proposal aggravate local executive heads? Above all, their reaction shows that democratic institutions have become a viable power base for politicians who a few years back seemed least likely to have any interest in them. Many of these governors are rich enough to bribe national politicians and officials to protect themselves from becoming corruption suspects but lack the financial and political connections to influence national party headquarters. Gamawan Fauzi’s plan would empower the national party headquarters, all of which have adopted regulations in recent years that concentrate power at the national level when putting forward candidates for local executive head elections.

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