Democracy, Islam and Party System in Indonesia: towards a consensus-oriented model?

Pal Istvan Gyene(1*)

(1) Budapest Business School
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper argues that the impact of “Islam” on the Indonesian political system is worth studying on three different levels: 1. society’s political divisions; 2. the party system 3. parliamentary politics. I contend that there is a specifically Indonesian “consensus-oriented” democracy model involved in the process—which is not, however, without Western predecessors—wherein political Islam and Islamist parties act not as destabilising factors but rather as “Muslim democratic” forces that strengthen democratic consensus in a manner similar to some “Western” Christian democratic parties. This research is based partly on a historical and, implicitly, comparative approach. It builds strongly on the theoretical framework and methodology of Sartori’s classic party system typology, Lijphardt’s “majoritarian” and “consensus-based” democracy model, and the so-called neo-institutionalist debate on the possible advantages and disadvantages of parliamentary and presidential governments. 


Indonesia, democratisation, party system, political Islam, consensual democracy

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