The Parties and the Masses in Indonesia - A historical survey at the occasion of the general elections in July 1971

  • Bernhard Dahm (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Contrary to the expectations based on an opinion poll in 1970, the PNI as the party closely associated with former president Sukarno, did not get the expected 25% of the election results of July 1971. With the exception of the government-sponsored Golkar and the orthodox-islamic Nahdatul Ulama in Java, almost all the other political parties suddenly lost a considerable number of voters, a fact which according to Dr. Dahm cannot be wholly explained by the steady government harassment of the parties. As during the colonial era, the Indonesian masses turned to be basically indifferent towards the parties. To them the parties had been nothing but the messengers of a better tomorrow. For that reason, any party, which is able to make the most appealing promises can be sure to attract a large following, an assumption supported by the “unexpected” victory of Golkar and the “expected” losses of those political parties not associated with the present military regime.