With Indonesia's general elections less than three months away political campaigning and the push to win over voters is reaching high gear. Our guest this week is Ward Berenschot, co-author with Edward Aspinall, of a timely new book that takes a close look at the informal politics of elections and patronage democracy. Democracy for sale: Elections, Clientelism, and the State in Indonesia (Cornell University Press) delves behind the scenes of local election campaigns, their ubiquitous success teams, systemic vote buying and exchange of favours, to reveal a complex social network based on reciprocity and identity politics. What are some of the key elements of informal politics? What role do the political parties play? How does Indonesia compare to other similar democracies? Is Indonesia's democracy really for sale?
Ward Berenschot is a postdoctoral fellow at KITLV, Leiden University researching local democracy, clientelism and identity politics in India and Indonesia.
In 2019, the Ta