Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 May 2020
This chapter discusses the stateness-democracy linkage in Indonesia’s post-1998 democratization process. While the stateness developed under authoritarianism appeared to erode after 1998, a robust democracy was nevertheless established. This surprising outcome raises the question of what the precise role of stateness and its related capacities was in establishing and maintaining the democratic regime after 1998. Did the capacity developed under Suharto survive the collapse of the authoritarian regime in 1998 and help to create the conditions under which democracy was entrenched, together with its deficiencies? Or did democracy develop new state capacities that allowed the country to consolidate? There is evidence, this chapter argues, that the core of Indonesian state capacity entrenched under Suharto endured during the transition, assisting in the creation of an electoral democracy. Yet, the deals that post-authoritarian rulers had to enter into in order to access that state capacity trapped Indonesia in low-quality democratic rule. There is also evidence that, although low in quality, Indonesia’s democracy strengthened some of the state’s capacities, while it failed to impact others.