Democratization in Indonesia led to the establishment of many new politcial parties. They sprang up by the hundreds after Soeharto had stepped down in 1998. A considerable number of these parties define themselves as Islamic, others are at least perceived as such by the Indonesian electorate due to the positions their protagonists once had (e.g. Amien Rais, who used to be chairman of the Muhammadiyah organization before he became chairman of PAN).

My research focuses on the development of those among the Islamic parties that ran for the elections in 1999, were able to survive and ran again in 2004 (PBB, PPP, PAN, PKB and, although officially dissolved and reestablished under a new name, PK/PKS). Analyzing their official documents (platforms, by-laws etc. agreed upon by the majority of their members) I want to find out if and how:

  • the parties legitimize themselves as representing Indonesian Muslims
  • the parties intend to translate Islamic principles into day to day policies, e.g. in the field of law, economics, gender questions, treatment of minorities
  • the decision-making process within the parties is defined in the by-laws
  • September 11 and related events have had an impact on the more recent documents
  • these documents mirror other developments that have shaped Indonesia during the post-Soeharto era, e.g. regional conflicts, education reform, human rights violations, and the new definition of the role of the police and the armed forces