Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

USINDO's Scholars Open Forum Series – How Did Indonesia Evolve into a Constitutional Democracy?


USINDO’s Scholars Series

How Did Indonesia Evolve into a Constitutional Democracy?


Professor Donald L. Horowitz   

James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science

Duke University

Thursday, October 3rd 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

USINDO Conference Room

1625 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 550

Washington, DC 20036

How did Indonesia make its remarkable transition to a successful democracy after some fifty years of authoritarianism? How did it avoid polarization, violence, and backsliding into authoritarianism after the fall of Suharto? What steps did Indonesia take to become a constitutional democracy?


After the fall of Suharto’s authoritarian regime in 1998, Indonesia engaged in an insider-dominated and unusually gradual reform process. Indonesia’s amended constitution was crafted by insiders who themselves had to quickly reform and democratize, and chose to hold elections prior to pursuing constitutional reform. Professor Horowitz argues that Indonesia’s democratic transformation was effective precisely because of the incremental nature of democratization. Legislators avoided potential conflict between ethnic and social groups through the institutions they created. This allowed the different ethnic and religious groups of Indonesian society to be represented in parliament through its electoral system, which directed the country away from the dangers of polarization and intergroup violence. Gradual reform helped preserve pluralism instead of creating a divided society.


USINDO is please to present Professor Donald Horowitz, James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University. His new book, “Constitutional Change and Democracy in Indonesia”, tells the fascinating story of Indonesia’s transformation into a democracy. His overview of Indonesia’s political evolution since regime change in 1998 will provide our USINDO audience an in-depth understanding of how and why Indonesia succeeded in making its remarkable transition to democracy since 1998. Please join us for this important event.


This event is open and free of charge. To register, please kindly RSVP HERE by October 2, 2013 at 5pm.