Marketisation and professionalisation of campaigning of political parties in the new democracy: an investigation of the structural conditions and factors that determined the development of marketization and professionalization of campaigning of the Indonesian political parties in the Post-Soeharto New Order.

Authors: Ahmad

Conference: Bournemouth University, Faculty of Media and Communication


This study explores the marketisation and professionalisation of campaigning of political parties. More specifically, it attempts to provide a systematic understanding of the structural conditions and factors that determine such developments in a new democracy. The following propositions commence this study. In new democracies that are indicated by a set of conditions postulated by Strömbäck (2007: 63), Strömbäck (2010: 28-29) and Strömbäck et al. (2012: 86), political parties are likely to adopt marketing principles, procedures and techniques to advance not only market-orientation, but also campaign structure and strategies. However, none of these parties is likely to turn into either market-oriented or the professional-electoral/sales-oriented parties. To evaluate such propositions, this study selected the new democracy of Indonesia as a case study, adopted critical realism as a research philosophy, formulated a holistic conceptual framework and applied a pure-mix of qualitative and the quantitative research methodology. Survey data were collected from marketers/campaigners of 10 Indonesian political parties during the 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections. The in-depth interview data were derived from these parties’ leaders/secretaries, senior editors of the Indonesian media and political consultants and pollsters. These data were combined with reports released by these media and pollsters, the Indonesian research centres and the Indonesian General Election and Broadcasting Commissions.

This study reveals that there were ‘structural conditions’, which stimulated the Indonesian political parties Post-Soeharto New Order to develop such practices. In facing these elections, these parties realized the importance of political market arenas and political sub-markets and advanced such practices strategically. None of these parties however, turned into either market-oriented or the professional-electoral/sales-oriented parties. The main finding of this study is that in the emerging democratic countries, which have been ruled under the presidential government system and indicated by the candidate-centred system, such as Indonesia, the party orientations related to such practices seem to be matters of mode and degree rather than of type. The following factors determined such orientations. They include: a) perceptions of the party leaders, candidates and marketers/campaigners regarding the relative importance of the internal party, the media and electoral arenas; b) the party-specific factors, especially, party ideology, size, campaign resources and position in the government and experiences with internal and external shocks; c) the party’s competitive chances to fulfil the minimum number of the presidential election threshold, assemble a political coalition and nominate a pair of presidential candidates; and d) the party presidential candidate-specific factors.

This study offers the following novelty theoretical and prescriptive models. The first theoretical model conceptualises the structural conditions and factors that determine developments of marketisation and professionalisation of campaigning of political parties in such countries within and across the parliamentary and presidential elections. The second theoretical model underpins formation of the party presidential candidate-specific factors and theorises its impacts on such developments systematically; while the third theoretical model provides a baseline framework to explore the effects of these aforementioned factors on such developments holistically. The second and the third theoretical models could be transformed into the prescriptive models to help these parties to achieve their goals in these elections effectively. The mainstream centre-right or centre- left parties in the Western democracy could adopt these models, as they want to tactically confront the rises of the radical-right wing populist parties and movements and strategically manage the sustainability of the liberal democratic system and society.

Source: Manual

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