Pilkada 2015 and Patronage Practice among Bureaucrat in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

  •  Ngusmanto Ngusmanto    


Majority studies on electoral dynamics in Indonesia are reinforce patronage as a pattern of relationships between candidates, winning team, and voters. One of winning team element which have little attention from scholars is bureaucrat. Although, normatively, bureaucrats are required to neutral in all type of general election, but in fact bureaucrats is very involved deeply in general elections. Based on empirical research in Sintang District and Ketapang District, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, we found that bureaucrats have a significant role as a winning team in pilkada (direct election for local leader). Patronage is a keyword to explain political relation between bureaucrats and candidate in pilkada. This situation was triggered by the fact that there are many candidates who have social background as civil servant and, consequently, have direct access to bureaucracy. Bureaucrats have high motivation to participate in pilkada as a broker due to protecting their vested interest. In our cases, the vested interest of bureaucrat is career stability which is promising additional personal revenue and social status. Consequently, staffing (circulation of position) within bureaucracy does not followed by auction mechanism (merit system), but following nepotism mechanism (spoil system). The winner of pilkada is socially pressured to accommodate all bureaucrats who has become their winning team. Finally, we discuss our finding and propose future agenda research to understanding this phenomenon. 

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