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Berantas Korupsi: a political history of governance reform and anti-corruption initiatives in Indonesia 1945-2014

Juwono, Vishnu (2016) Berantas Korupsi: a political history of governance reform and anti-corruption initiatives in Indonesia 1945-2014. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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This thesis examines the efforts to introduce governance reform and anti-corruption measures from Indonesia‘s independence in 1945 until the end of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY's) presidency in 2014. It is divided into three main parts covering Sukarno‘s 'Old Order', Suharto's 'New Order', and the reform period. The first part discusses how the newborn state of Indonesia balanced asserting its independence with efforts at institution building. It analyzes the power struggle between the diametrically opposed nationalist camp led by Sukarno and the administrator camp led by Vice President Hatta. It also examines Army Chief General Nasution's push for anti-corruption initiatives under Sukarno's guided democracy. The second part analyzes the roots, causes and development of corruption under President Suharto. It looks at how, in the early period of the New Order, Suharto enacted a number of anticorruption policies in response to demands especially from students, how this political alliance ended as Suharto was able to consolidate his political authority, and how this undermined the checks-and-balances system. It also analyses the impact of the increasing corruption on Suharto‘s political capital as the Indonesian middle class demanded greater transparency and accountability, ultimately – along with 1997 Asia Financial crisis – leading to Suharto‘s downfall in May 1998. The third part of this thesis examines the efforts by the post-Suharto presidencies to tackle the legacy of corruption from the New Order period. It discusses the dynamics between the reformists within the executives and legislatures who worked together with civil society and the conservative/pro-status quo groups and oligarchs, as well as the impact of a more democratic political governance structure, the emergence of a free media, the greater freedom of expression, and the functioning of the most effective anti-corruption agency in Indonesia‘s modern history – the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). This thesis advances three arguments: First, that despite all the rhetoric in championing the cause, governance reform was never seen as a long-term endeavor and therefore was never applied consistently from independence to the SBY era. Second, the anti-corruption drives predating the KPK in 2004 were mostly arbitrary, with limited impact, selective in nature, and politicized. Third, the establishment of the KPK changed the sense of impunity among the political elites, albeit only in a limited sense. On the one hand, that allowed the KPK to sustain and even accelerate the anti-corruption drive during the two terms of SBY's presidency but, on the other, it left the overall political, economic and social structure and with it the persistent institutional failure that induced and incubated the wave of corruption largely intact.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Vishnu Juwono
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Schulze, Kirsten

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