Political Conflict Resolution and Democratic Consolidation in Indonesia: The Role of the Constitutional Court

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    Abstract

    This article argues that Indonesia's Constitutional Court has played a significant role in that country's transformation from a violence-prone polity into Southeast Asia's most stable democracy. The Court has advanced institutional conflict resolution mechanisms and expanded democratic rights-two achievements identified by Linz and Stepan as major indicators of a consolidating democracy. Building on models developed by Ginsburg and Horowitz, my analysis also illustrates why the Court has been able to defend its autonomy and become an agent of democratization. While sharing Ginsburg's emphasis on high levels of power diffusion as a key reason for the Court's success, this article moves beyond such an approach. Most importantly, it suggests that the judges' "judicial activism"-as expressed in a number of controversial but popular decision-increased Indonesian society's support for the Court to such an extent that is has now become largely invulnerable to attempts of external intervention.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-424
    JournalJournal of East Asian Studies
    Volume10
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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