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Despite only a decade of democratic reform, elections and political parties have become so embedded in Indonesia's political life that both Indonesians and foreign observers seem to have no difficulty in crediting Indonesia as the world's third largest democracy. What does it really mean to Indonesia's ordinary people that their country is now a democracy, however? How much do we know about Indonesia's elections and political parties? How do local elections and party politics matter to Indonesia's national political development?Local Politics in Indonesia explores how local elections have affected Indonesia's democracy and political dynamics. Since June 2005, Indonesian people have cast votes in direct elections of local government heads ' i.e., provincial governors, district regents, and municipal mayors. Observers have debated whether these direct local elections have contributed to local democratization, as advocates of such elections suggested they would, or whether the elections have only consolidated or otherwise transformed the oligarchy of political parties, as only parties can nominate candidates for local government heads. Based on original research in five localities, this book reveals a more complex, and in some regards, surprising calculus. Overall, the book shows that direct elections of local government heads have transformed Indonesia's political dynamics, particularly in terms of party politics and elite development.