Under Indonesia's authoritarian New Order regime, the continued existence of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), was meant to demonstrate the ostensibly democratic character of the regime. In essence, this small nationalist-Christian coalition was meant to fill the role of a pliant state-corporatist party. From the later 1980s, however, the PDI became more openly critical of government policies and came to stand out as the major proponent of reform within the formal political system. The government responded in 1996 by engineering the removal of the popular Megawati Sukarnoputri from her position as PDI leader, a move that significantly damaged the popular legitimacy and moral standing of the regime. Against this background, and looking at the PDI as a key political institution, the book assesses broader questions of political culture, political participation, regime maintenance and opposition in the late- Suharto era. The political culture perspective, understood in terms of a hegemonic discourse and the exercise of physical power, provides a fresh understanding of politics under the New Order and its influence on the systems of power and political relations in post-Suharto Indonesia.
In the mid-1990s, the formerly pliant Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was transformed into an active opposition party by Megawati Sukarnoputri (now President of Indonesia). The subsequent backlash from the Suharto regime ultimately led to its downfall.
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