'Strong Patronage, Weak Parties' and 'Democracy for Sale'

'Strong Patronage, Weak Parties' and 'Democracy for Sale'

Event details

Book Launch

Date & time

Thursday 07 November 2019


Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Building 130, ANU


Paul Hutchcroft, Department of Political and Social Change (PSC), ANU; Leena Rikkilä Tamang, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance; Professor Edward Aspinall, and Associate Professor Marcus Mietzner, PSC, ANU


Coral Bell School

In Southeast Asia, as in many other parts of the world, the quality of democracy is undermined by varying patterns of ‘money politics’. The prevalence of patronage not only displaces policy deliberation but also fuels corruption, subverts accountability and erodes public faith in democratic structures.

Join us for the launch of new research on the politics of the region’s two most-populous countries, Indonesia and the Philippines, by two of Australia’s leading Southeast Asia scholars: Strong Patronage, Weak Parties: The Case for Electoral System Redesign in the Philippines, edited by Professor Paul Hutchcroft; and Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism, and the State in Indonesia by Professor Edward Aspinall (co-authored with Ward Berenschot).

Strong Patronage, Weak Parties demonstrates how the prevailing electoral system in the Philippines—as set out in the 1987 constitution—inadvertently ensures the perpetuation of weak and incoherent political parties. The book then proposes reforms designed to encourage the emergence of a more policy-oriented (and less patronage-driven) polity.

Paul Hutchcroft, a scholar of comparative and Southeast Asian politics, has written extensively on Philippine politics and political economy. He joined the Department of Political and Social Change (PSC) in 2008, and was from 2009 to 2013 the founding director of the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies (since renamed the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs). From 2013 to 2017, Hutchcroft was based in the Philippines as Lead Governance Specialist with the Australian aid program. He currently leads PSC’s DFAT-funded project on ‘Supporting the Rules-Based Order in Southeast Asia’.

Strong Patronage, Weak Parties will be launched by Leena Rikkilä Tamang, Director for Asia and the Pacific, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Democracy for Sale is an on-the-ground account of Indonesian democracy, analysing its election campaigns and behind-the-scenes machinations. Edward Aspinall and Ward Berenschot assess the informal networks and political strategies that shape access to power and privilege in the messy political environment of contemporary Indonesia.

Edward Aspinall is a specialist in the politics of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. He has published on a range of topics related to Indonesia, including democratisation, elections, the separatist conflict in Aceh, ethnic politics, clientelism and ‘money politics’. He is the author of three books Opposing Suharto, Islam and Nation, and the one being launched today, and the editor of a further dozen. His current research interests include involvement in an Australian Research Council project on urban machine politics across Southeast Asia.

Democracy for Sale will be launched by Associate Professor Marcus Mietzner from the Department of Political Social Change, ANU.

The launch will be opened by Professor Toni Erskine, Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

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