Saiful Mujani: From Fundamentalist to Pluralist

March 17, 2007

Author: Alpha Amirrachman

Source: The Jakarta Post

Almost a decade after reform began to take place in Indonesia, the country's political leaders still struggle to live out their new-found democratic ideals.

"Political parties are an important element in democracy, but they have failed to conduct a proper recruitment process. Just show me capable people in political parties. Many of them are good in mobilizing masses because they have money. Very few of them have expertise and technocratic capacities," executive director of the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) Saiful Mujani told The Jakarta Post recently.

"And you can see that current capable ministers like Sri Mulyani, Boediono and Mar'ie Pangestu are not from political parties, they are intellectuals from universities," he added.

The recent emergence of a television personality as a candidate for the upcoming Jakarta governor's election is another indication of the failure of political parties, Saiful said.

"Even in the U.S., movie stars becoming politicians is very case-based. But in the first direct governor's election in an important capital, Jakarta? Come on... what have they (the political parties) been doing?"