Ahmad Harakan, Riccardo Pelizzo, Nygmetzhan Kuzenbayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While several studies on the issue have shown that traditional beliefs affect people's political behavior and preferences, very little attention has been paid to how traditional beliefs influence electoral behavior. The only study that has attempted to link traditional beliefs and electoral behavior has done so by analyzing the case of Togo where the party system has been traditionally fairly stable and unfragmented. The case of Indonesia, on the other hand, has undergone significant changes since the end of the Orde Baru, and what was once a fairly unfragmented party system now displays high levels of fragmentation. Hence, it is particularly interesting to explore how the presence/diffusion of traditional beliefs shapes the voters’ choices in a changing, increasingly fragmented, democratizing political system. Moreover, in reviewing the literature on Indonesian elections, we find that, first, the study of electoral behavior in Indonesia has made little effort to employ existing theoretical frameworks; second, quantitative studies are scarce; and third, there are practically no micro-level quantitative studies on electoral behavior. In this article, we assess whether and to what extent the electoral choice of a voter is affected by whether and to what extent they hold on to traditional beliefs by performing statistical analyses of original survey data. We find that voters with a traditional mindset are more likely to vote for the secular parties in the ruling coalition than voters who do not hold traditional beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Affairs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 26 2023


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