Dr. Dirk Tomsa
External Senior Fellow
March - August 2015
Dirk Tomsa is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Philosophy at La Trobe University, Melbourne. He holds a PhD in Asian Studies from the University of Melbourne (awarded in 2007), a Master of Asian Studies degree from the University of Melbourne and a Magister Artium degree with a major in Political Science from the University of Muenster. Prior to his appointment at La Trobe University, he worked at the University of Tasmania and Deakin University. Dirk’s main research interests focus on Indonesian and comparative Southeast Asian politics, especially in the areas of democratization, electoral and party politics, institutional change and local politics. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of East Asian Studies, South East Asia Research, Political Research Quarterly, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies and Contemporary Southeast Asia. He is also the author of Party Politics and Democratization in Indonesia: Golkar in the post-Suharto era (2008) and co-editor of Party Politics in Southeast Asia: Clientelism and Electoral Competition in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines (2013).
- (2014) 'Party System Fragmentation in Indonesia: The Sub-national Dimension', Journal of East Asian Studies, 14 (2): 249-278.
- (2013, co-edited with Andreas Ufen) Party Politics in Southeast Asia: Clientelism and Electoral Competition in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, London and New York: Routledge.
- (2012) ‘Moderating Islamism in Indonesia: Tracing Patterns of Party Change in the Prosperous Justice Party’, Political Research Quarterly, 65 (3): 486-498.
- (2010) ‘The Indonesian Party System after the 2009 Elections: Towards Stability?’, Marcus Mietzner and Edward Aspinall (eds), Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 141-159.
- (2008) Party Politics and Democratization in Indonesia: Golkar in the Post-Suharto Era, London and New York: Routledge.
Electoral Engineering and Subnational Party System Institutionalization in Indonesia
The main aim of this research project is to analyze how exactly recent changes to the electoral system have affected the dynamics of local politics in Indonesia. Election laws applied in the 2014 parliamentary election not only established unprecedented tight organizational requirements for political parties that sought to register for the poll, but also stipulated changes to the way the electoral threshold was applied for the parties that competed in the election. While the new rules had little impact on the format of the national party system, they caused a major shake-up of sub-national party politics where parliaments had become progressively more fragmented over the course of the first three post-New Order elections. The research project will provide an in-depth analysis of provincial and district level results of the 2014 election in order to assess how and to what extent the changes to the electoral system have affected key features of local party system institutionalization such as the absolute and effective number of parties, volatility and stability. Moreover, the project seeks to provide some preliminary conclusions as to whether the changes to the election rules have paved the way for improved horizontal accountability between local executives and parliaments and for generally better performances by local parliaments.