Scholarly article on topic 'Ethnicity, Democracy and Decentralization: Explaining the Ethnic Political Participation of Direct Election in Medan 2010'

Ethnicity, Democracy and Decentralization: Explaining the Ethnic Political Participation of Direct Election in Medan 2010 Academic research paper on "Political Science"

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Procedia Environmental Sciences
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{"Sustainability of democracy" / etnicity / "political participation" / "direct election" / decentralization}

Abstract of research paper on Political Science, author of scientific article — Indra Kesuma Nasution

Abstract This study aims to explain the role of ethnicity in influencing the dynamics of direct election in 2010 in Medan, Indonesia. Direct election planed that ethnicity in Medan, North Sumatera was constructed by colonial power in which influence the political participation of the society. We found that Medan mayoral candidate often use the issue of ethnicity. It is a way to get the support of the people. Society did not choose based on the programs offered by mayor candidate. Free education program, or a free ID card issue turns out that it does not compete with “native” issue. There was a perception in the community that the mayors who came from the same ethnic community would give many benefits. Besides that, the first and second rounds of direct election in Medan were about inter-ethnic competition. It is not about religion competition. Election based on ethnicity has a very negative impact on the sustainability of democracy and decentralization in Indonesia, especially in Medan.

Academic research paper on topic "Ethnicity, Democracy and Decentralization: Explaining the Ethnic Political Participation of Direct Election in Medan 2010"


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Procedia Environmental Sciences 20 (2014) 496 - 505

The 4th International Conference on Sustainable Future for Human Security, SustaiN 2013

Ethnicity, Democracy and Decentralization: Explaining the Ethnic Political Participation of Direct Election in Medan 2010

Indra Kesuma Nasution*

Phd Student of GSID, Nagoya University


This study aims to explain the role of ethnicity in influencing the dynamics of direct election in 2010 in Medan, Indonesia. Direct election planed that ethnicity in Medan, North Sumatera was constructed by colonial power in which influence the political participation of the society. We found that Medan mayoral candidate often use the issue of ethnicity. It is a way to get the support of the people. Society did not choose based on the programs offered by mayor candidate. Free education program, or a free ID card issue turns out that it does not compete with "native" issue. There was a perception in the community that the mayors who came from the same ethnic community would give many benefits. Besides that, the first and second rounds of direct election in Medan were about inter-ethnic competition. It is not about religion competition. Election based on ethnicity has a very negative impact on the sustainability of democracy and decentralization in Indonesia, especially in Medan.

© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Selection andpeer-reviewunderresponsibility of the SustaiN conference committee and supported by Kyoto University; (RISH), (OPIR), (GCOE-ARS) and (GSS) as co-hosts

Keyword: Sustainability of democracy, etnicity, political participation, direct election, decentralization.

Corresponding author E-mail address:

1878-0296 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the SustaiN conference committee and supported by Kyoto University; (RISH), (OPIR), (GCOE-ARS) and (GSS) as co-hosts doi: 10. 1016/j .proen v .2014.03.062

1. Introduction

Decentralization in Indonesia is not a new issue; even decentralization has been around since the independence of Indonesia. However, in practice, decentralization does not go well, especially during the New Order Regime, President Suharto. New Order led by Suharto had produced an authoritarian regime [1]. Suharto's regime did not solve the problem transparently and did not accommodate many demands and claims that arose in areas such as Aceh, Riau, Irian Jaya and East Timor [2]. Suharto's regime, called New Order, established a pervasive and efficient security apparatus, with broad powers of arrest and imprisonment [3]. New Order regime, Indonesia was described as bureaucratic state where the state was presented as the embodiment of the collectively of its public. This gives the state and bureaucracy, as its apparatuses, privileged position vise a vise its public. Suharto's authoritarian regime was creating demonstrations and people protests to bring down the New Order regime. The fall of the Suharto's regime led to a new government model called reformation era. New style decentralization that was born in the era of reform, concerned of the improvement of the Indonesian political system. One of the expected changing is a centralized system of government to decentralize. Rondinelli stated decentralization as the transfer or delegation of legal and authority from the central governmental to local government [4]. In the same word, Crook argued that decentralization was usually referred to the transfer of powers from central government to lower levels in a political-administrative and territorial hierarchy [5]. Turner explained that the spirit of decentralization is expected more democratic and provide equitable development to bring the state closer to the society, and to provide better public services [6].

Decentralization system in Indonesia has developed rapidly until at the level of local government. The Act No. 32/2004 explained that Indonesian people might participate directly in determining the local government head [7]. Therefore, the local people can directly determine the governor or mayor. It was also explained by John Mary Kauzya that decentralization was a policy of high priority and used as an instrument of people empowerment, a platform for sustainable democratization [8]. It means that decentralization is a good policy or an instrument for sustainable democracy. Actualizing a sustainable democracy is not easy, especially in a multi-ethnic society.

The author is interested in research of the ethnicity and sustainability democracy in Medan because Medan has a plural, unique characteristic in which the people live in group and are separate among one and others. However, every ethnic lives in harmony even though culturally, psychologically, and economically the ethnic is separated. This paper explains and gives another argument from the previous research "When Religion Trumps Ethnicity" by Edward Aspinnal on Medan Election 2010. He explained that the first round of the Medan election was contested by 10 pairs of candidates and occurred in a climate of cross-ethnic coalition building [9]. The second round cross ethnic coalition building changed into religious competition. Contrast to Edward Aspinnal's research, I have a different argument. Medan Election in 2010 was not stressed on the religious competition but on inter ethnic competition. This also proves that ethnicity has a significant influence on direct election in Medan.

1.1. Research Question and Objective

Based on this background, there are two questions that will be explained in this paper. The first is "how was the role of ethnicity in influencing the dynamics of direct election in Medan, Indonesia". The second is "how did it impact on sustainability democracy and decentralization".

The objectives of this research are, firstly, to dig how the ethnicity has an influence on direct election in Medan and, secondly, to analyze its impact on the sustainability democracy and decentralization.

1.2. Methodology

The first method used is to survey the 21 sub-districts in Medan using multistage random sampling to the ethnics: Bataknese, Javanese and Chinese ethnic, who have a right to participate in election. The total sample is 400 respondents. The next is to interview the social group and society organization in Medan. Thirdly, it is done by using SNA as a tool to map the supporting group of the candidates. SNA is a set of socially relevant nodes connected by one or more relations. Nodes, or network members, are the units that are connected by the relations [10]

2. The Concept of Sustainability Democracy

Democracy is considered as an ideal government, which is the best to apply in the countries of the world, and expected to answer the problems of the society and uphold the sovereignty of society. Dahl explained that

democracy is the best form of government. Public officials should be chosen by majority vote. Every citizen should have an equal chance to influence government policy. The minority should be free to criticize majority decisions [11]. Studies of academics about democracy acquaint two great ideas categories, namely concepts of minimalist and maximalist [12]. Minimalist democracy more explains democracy as procedural such general classifier while maximalists democracy more concentrates on the substance of democracy, not only election as main indicator, but also the respect for the civil rights and pluralism that is the most fundamental thing in democratic life. It is also delivered by Lary Dimond who defines democracy as a system of government that maintains three conditions. They are (a) meaningful and extensive competition among individuals and groups for all elective positions, (b) highly inclusive level of political participation in the selection of leaders and policies, so that no major group is excluded, and (c) a level of civil and political liberties that are sufficient to ensure political competition and participation, including freedom of expression and the freedom to form and join organisations [13].

I argue that sustainability democracy respects the pluralism and gives the opportunity to the local people to participate in democracy without any kind of violation. It means that democracy will sustain if all individuals or groups of individuals are treated equally by the state. It is equal if the state provides space for active participation in social, cultural, political and economic matters. Rousseau argued that political participation was an important aspect in the order of democracy. Political participation was an activity undertaken to engage citizens in the decision-making process in order to influence government [14]. Political participation affects government policies [15]. These actions include giving voting in elections, attending the general meeting, being a member of a party or interest group, making contact with government officials or members of parliament, and so on. Political participation is an important instrument of sustainability democracy. To realize political participation in society becomes difficult in societies divided along deep social cleavages such as ethnicity because the community has been divided in a few ethnicities [16]. Emilie explained that missing from ethnicity debates are arguments stressing the importance of political participation of ethnic from a democratic perspective [17]. The same argument was also explained by Kanchan Chandra. Chandra argued that democracy requires fluid ethnic majorities and minorities in order to function [18]. In other words, Chandra wanted to affirm that democracy takes the role of the ethnic majority and minorities to participate in the realization of democracy. While according to Merkel, heterogeneity potentially destabilizes mature democracies [19].

3. The Concept of Ethnic Constructivism

There are many definitions of ethnicity. In this paper, I will use the constructivism approach to explain the ethnicity. This constructivism approach will also explain how did the role of ethnicity in influencing the dynamics of direct election in Medan. Actually constructivism appears to provide a view that social reality cannot be seen as naturally exist by itself (given) and independent of interaction (rationalist), and vice versa, it cannot also be seen as something that is nil or nothing and merely seen as a reflection of human ideas. Wendt argued that structures of human association are determined primarily by shared ideas rather than material forces and identities and interests of purposive actors that are constructed by these shared ideas rather than given by nature [20]. Constructivists view this reality of the world as something that was based on evidence (the fact) that materially could be arrested or not by the five senses, but that fact does not lead / not determine how we (humans) see the social reality. Wendt argued that social reality according to constructivist is the result of social construction. In other words, human beings are individually constructed through social reality. The same thing also occurred to the notion of ethnicity. Ethnicity is not given. Ethnicity is born as defined and redefined, constructed for political and economic interests. In other words, ethnicity is the result of social construction and as a consequence, ethnicity was very fluid and dynamic. Philip Q. Yang explained that there are three important arguments about the ethnicity; first, ethnicity is a socially constructed identity, something that is created. Second, as an extension of constructed identity, ethnic boundaries are flexible or changeable. Ethnicity is dynamic. Third, ethnic affiliation or identification is determined or constructed by society [21]. These three basic arguments are greatly affecting the ethnic political participation especially at the political behaviour. The next question is how the influence of ethnicity constructivism on direct election in Medan. The following will discuss the three-ethnicity important things that affect direct election.

4. Ethnic and Direct Election in Medan: Inter Ethnic Competition

In June 2005, Indonesia did direct elections. This is the form of the establishment and enforcement of democracy in Indonesia. Medan as one of the biggest city in Indonesia conducted a direct elections for the first time in 2005. In 2010, direct election was held again by involving 10 mayoral candidates. According to the BPS (Indonesian Central

Statistics Agency) in 2012, the inhabitants of Medan are 2.8 million people made up of diverse ethnic. Ethnic composition in Medan according to the BPS in 2012 can be seen in the following table.

Table 1. The Percentage of Ethnic Groups in Medan

Number Ethnic Percentage

1 Javanese 33,02 %

2 North Tapanuli/Batak Tobanese 19,21 %

3 Chinese 10,65%

4 Mandailingnese 9,36%

5 Minangnese 8,6%

6 Melayunese 6,59%

7 Karonese 4,10%

8 Acehnese 2,78%

9 Others 5,07%

Source: BPS 2012

The table 1 explained that Medan is very multi-ethnics. The data explained that performs of Javanese is the highest number of ethnic in Medan (33.02 %), and then followed by the ethnic of North Tapanuli / Batak Tobanese which amounted to 19.21 %. Chinese is ranked to three.

Medan has implemented direct elections twice in 2005 and 2010. In this paper, we will focus on the direct election in 2010. Direct election in Medan was followed by 10 candidates in 2010. They are 1. Sjahrial R Anas - H Yahya Sumardi, 2. Sigit Pramono Asri - Nurlisa Ginting, 3. Indra Sakti Harahap - Delyuzar, 4.Bahdin Nur Tanjung -Kasim Siyo, 5. H Joko Susilo - Amir Mirza Hutagalung, 6. Rahudman Harahap - Dzulmi Eldin 7. Arif Nasution -Supratikno, 8. Maulana Pohan - Ahmad Arif, 9. Ajib Shah - Binsar Situmorang, 10. Sofyan Tan - Nelly Armayanti. Generally, candidates came from a different ethnic. Indeed, it was the strategy of mayoral candidates to reach voters in Medan who came from a diverse ethnic. There are three important things that could explain the political participation of the local ethnic election that could be seen from the perspective of ethnic constructivism. Based on Philip Q. Yang's explanation, it can be concluded that ethnicity is a social construct that is created by its own ethnic, flexible and constructed by society. In other words, that three ethnic's constructivism greatly affected the direct election in Medan.

4.1. Ethnic is Determined or Constructed by Society.

Medan is a very multi-ethnic region. Prof. Usman Pelly (historian of North Sumatera) explained that the Bataknese and Malay was the construct of colonial power [22]. This explanation is based on the results of Daniel Perret research about ethnic and colonialism in North Sumatera. The constructed ethnicity of the colonial powers is not only Bataknese and Malay, but also the case for other ethnic groups. The term Batak was a concept created and it is not the genuine from the community. Malay and Bataknese ethnic label was not a label but a culture. Anyone can become Malay if she or he is Muslim, having Malay traditions, and speaking Malay language. Malay and Bataknese label appeared in the 16th century. The Batak label appears as a complement to label Malays. Malay people in East Sumatera considers itself civilized, while the Batak people in the Bukit Barisan mountain valley are seen as people who were not knowledgeable, violent and even cannibals. Daniel noted that the designation of a document was not in the Batak pre-colonial literature. Budi Agustono (North Sumatera historians) explained that the constructed ethnic groups by colonial apparatus through its officials ranging from the controller, resident assistant, ethnographers and missionaries who often hold positions in the colonial bureaucracy [23]. In colonial text explained that the ethnic groups that exist in a particular area often described having negative behaviour. Negative stereotypes of ethnic groups resulted in fragmented, low self-esteem, and looked ruler (colonial) higher than the local community. Ethnic stereotypes ultimately regarded as truth.

Constructed ethnic groups by colonial influenced the style of ethnic political participation in direct elections. Ethnic identity is not only the decisive ethnic identity. Outsider of the community can also give identity to a particular ethnic. That identity will certainly have an impact on the mentioned ethnic political behaviour. When the outsider determines ethnic identity, then there are two important things that can be inferred. First, this ethnic is very limited with the identity, which has been given by the outsider. For example, Javanese known as the native ethnic will not provide support to the ethnic of China. As a result of these considerations, the quality of a person is not a major concern when this person comes from different ethnicity. This happens when no one of the Javanese ethnic

groups stated that she or he supported Sofyan Tan - Nelly. Second, ethnicity was highly susceptible to be constructed by possessor. For example, when one ethnicity runs for mayoral candidate, then automatically the society who has the same ethnicity with the candidate will be encouraged and even required to select the candidates due to the same ethnic reasons. An example is when there is a mayoral candidate with bad track records or as a corruptor, then it is obligatory to support due to the same ethnicity reasons. This is the fundamental ethnic problem. Ethnicity is interpreted only as biological factor not defined as an ideology. Consequently, ethnicity will only be a commodity for the political elite who is very concerned to win the direct election.

4.2.Ethnicity is a Socially Constructed Identity, Something that is Created

Ethnicity is an identity that is created by the ethnic itself. I will explain three ethnicities based on constructivism approach. The first is Javanese. The large number of Javanese people in Sumatera is due to the wave of forced labour conducted by Dutch colonialism as well as by the New Order government through the transmigration program. Javanese people moved in large numbers in Peninsular Malaysia especially in Johor and Selangor, then as contracted labourers in Deli land, North Sumatera [24].

Previously, these Javanese migrants are called with the term of "Jakon (Jawa Kontrak/ contracted Javanese)" or "Jadel (Jawa Deli/ Deli Javanese)". These terms are used to be identical with Java people who worked in the plantation in Deli land since the early arrival of the Javanese to Sumatera was as plantation contracted labourers in Sumatera. "Jakon (Jawa Kontrak)" is the term for those who had a contract with the possessors in the days of colonialism; they were placed in the deepest areas or remote areas, which had the potency of plantations such as rubber, palm oil, and coffee. During their contract period, parts of Javanese people did not return to Java Island, they chose to survive on the estate they occupied. The term of "Jadel (Jawa Deli)" was the term for those who came and worked as coolies^ in plantations at Deli land (Medan). They worked as coolies on tobacco plantations in Medan or at the time, it was better known as Deli Tobacco Plantation.

They chose to live in rural or looked for a new place that was quieter [25]. During its development, the Java people in Sumatera formed a group, which characterized Java ethnic identity. The purpose of the establishment is the same. Basically, they are the offspring or the generation of the "Jakon" or "Jadel" who worked on the plantations located in Deli land. The question is how the role of Javanese in political field. In Javanese community, there is a proverb saying Manunggaling kawulo lan gusti which means community and leaders is one. Leaders are people who should be the bridge. They should be trust by those who are underneath to convey and receive the aspirations of their members. Kasim Siyo as a leader in Pujakesuma explained that the leader must be categorized as "Iku sing njawani, Jowo pikirane, sing wedhi karo sing gawe urip, Alloh Subhanahu wata 'ala, sing iso ngayomi wong cilik" (means: a leader should have "Jawani" mindset, fear Allah SWT, The God Almighty, and sincerely nurture young people).

In other words, the Javanese should choose the leader who also comes from the Javanese [26]. This kind of Javanese identity construction then affects the political style of Java people. In the direct election of Medan with 10 mayor candidates, there were seven candidates from Javanese. This condition explained that Javanese did not matter in terms of politics. It is based on the ideology that has been ingrained since the time of their ancestors that is Adem, Ayem, Tentrem (calm and quiet life). As a result, the candidates from Javanese spread in almost all the mayoral candidates. It can be seen in the figure 1.

Second is Batak ethnic identity. This name is a collective terms to identify some tribes who live and come from Tapanuli in North Sumatra. Ethnic groups categorized as Batak are Batak Tobanese, Batak Karonese, Batak Pakpaknese, Batak Simalungunnese, Batak Angkolanese dan Batak Mandailingnese. The majority of Batak people embrace Christianity and the rests are Muslims. In choosing a leader, there is a term of Bataknese that becomes its identity, which is Dang tumagonan tu halak molo adong do di hita (why choose others if those from our ethnicity are still there). This condition is based on Profesor R. Willian Liddle's research about the political behaviour in the ethnic of Batak. Liddle conducted a research on the theme of political behaviour in Simalungun regency and Pematang Siantar, North Sumatra Province. In Simalungun and Pematang Siantar regency, Liddle found a close relation between the local parties and the ethnic of Batak. At that time, the people of Indonesia were eager parties

^ The term "koeli" is thought to originate from the Coolie English word, adopted the word coolie from Tamil language which means the wage for unskilled labour

that will represent the interests of those who were primordial [27]. This condition was influenced the Batak people's preference to choose the local leader candidates and the political parties. All differences are differences in ethnicity, religion, occupation, and differences in social organization or political party that they choose or follow [28].

Third is Chinese identity. The presence of the ethnic of China in Indonesia is shown as Indonesian ancestors who came from China and from the first or second generation has been living in Indonesia; mingling with the locals and mastering one or more languages spoken in Indonesia [29]. The ethnic of China in Medan had formed its own characteristics due to socio-cultural-economic environment for local people. For example in the usage of daily language, Chinese people often use Hokkien language when communicating each other, compared to local language or Bahasa. They will communicate using Bahasa with non-Chinese ethnic. This condition is different from Chinese people in Java such as Surabaya and Yogyakarta in which they cannot speak Chinese or Hokkien language but they speak in Bahasa with Javanese accent in the daily communication. Other peculiarities refer to the opinion that Chinese people felt being treated unfairly by the natives so that this kind of thinking makes Chinese people make such ethnic group which is ultimately considered more exclusive compared to other ethnicities. These conditions then affect their political behaviour [30]. Furthermore, the political behaviour of Javanese, Bataknese, and Chinese can be seen in the following figure.

Table 2. Ethnic Influences In Determining Choice For Mayor Candidate

Javanese Bataknese Chinese

Yes 12 % 58 % 43 %

No 88 % 42 % 42 %

Abstention 15 %

Source : Survey 2010

Table 2 explained that Javanese are not too influential in determining Medan mayor (88%). Batak ethnic political behaviour is still influenced by ethnicity (58%) while the Chinese ethnic indicates that they are almost the same among other ethnic, being influenced or not. To prove the conditions, I tried to map the support by ethnic group using the social network analysis (SNA). This data is gathered from the interview to social groups in Medan. The ethnic spread can be seen in the figure 1.

Fig.1. Ethnicity

On Group Support

Source : Survey 2010

Deployment Based

The figure 1 explained that the ethnic of Java are widespread in providing support the candidates. The survey showed that 88% of Javanese confessed that ethnicity did not influence their choice in direct election. However, the ethnic of Java still choose the Javanese candidates even only for the vice-mayor position. For example, Pujakusumah supported Joko-Amir, then "Forum Komunikasi Warga Jawa / FKWJ supported Maulana - Arif, and Adi Santoso supported Bahdin - Kasim Siyo. Almost in every mayoral candidate, there were Javanese ethnic supporters. It also occurred in the ethnic of China. INTI organization supported Ajib - Binsar and PSMTI organization supported Sofyan Tan - Nelly. This condition was different from Batak Tobanese or Mandailingnese that more focused on Ajib - Binsar Situmorang and Rahudman - Eldin.

The ethnic support could be seen from the ethnic support on sub-district. The following is ethnic support based on sub-districts in the first round.

Fig.2. Ethnic Support Based on the Ethnicity in Each Sub District in the First Round of Direct Election

Source : Survey 2010

The figure 2 explained the strength of support of candidates based on ethnic distribution in each district in Medan. Sofyan Tan-Nelly wins in the Chinese ethnic base that was located in Medan Area, Medan Kota and East Medan. These areas are the central location of Medan. While Rahudman-Eldin would get support from the ethnic of Mandailing and Malay which scattered in Medan Marelan, Medan Labuhan, Medan Denai, and Medan Tembung. This entire region is the area of the outer ring of Medan, which is inhabited by the majority of Mandailingnese, Malay, and Javanese. Through mapping of ethnic distribution in each district, it proves that ethnicity influence was very strong in the direct election in Medan.

In other words, ethnicity greatly affects the ethnic political behaviour. Voters will tend to vote the mayor candidates of the same ethnicity. This is consistent with the argument of Alexander Wendt. Alexander Wendt asserts that identities are the basic of interests. It means identity is a form of interest that would be achieved. In a direct election, it can be seen from the ethnic political behaviour in providing support to candidates.

Indeed, support is given due importance. What can be done by ethnicity in a democratic system is to choose a political party or candidates from the same ethnicity. This is reinforced by Janet Landa who asserts that "A voter tends to vote for a party candidate who is a member of the same ethnic group because of the higher probability that the candidate will keep his/her political promises to members of their own ethnic community, and because of the lower costs of communicating with a candidate of one's own community, more effective representation of the community's interests in the parliament will likely result [31]. It means that in political behavior, the ethnic would tend to support the same ethnic group. This is done as an effort to channel the ethnic aspirations. The next question is how the second round of direct election in Medan is. In the second round of direct election, there was a change in ethnic support. This proves that the ethnicity was also dynamic.

4.3. Ethnic Boundaries are Flexible or Changeable, Ethnicity is Dynamic

Based on the argument of constructivism, ethnicity is actually flexible and changeable. In other words, ethnicity is very dynamic. This dynamic ethnic condition ultimately affects the ethnic political behaviour on the direct election in Medan. I have two arguments to explain flexibility or changeable ability of ethnicity in direct election. First, there was a change in the ethnic support at the first and second round. Direct election in Medan lasted two rounds, Rahudman-Eldin and Sofyan Tan-Nelly. The following is ethnic support based on sub districts in the second round.

The figure 3 explained that there was a change in the second round. Sofyan Tan was supported from three-sub district of the 21-sub district in Medan. Meanwhile, Rahudman-Eldin got the support from the 18-sub district. The next question is why most ethnicity did not support Sofyan Tan-Nelly in the second round of direct election in Medan. Therefore, this survey was carried out to question the reason for not choosing Sofyan Tan-Nelly based on

Fig.3. Ethnic Support Based on The Ethnicity in Each Sub District in the Second Round of Direct Election

Source: survey 2010

The table 3 explained the main reason of the respondent for not choosing the Sofyan Tan-Nelly for the second round of direct election in Medan 2010. The first reason, they more believed in native candidates (28.75%). If Chinese ethnic was not involved in the survey, the most important reason was the fear of the respondent to the Chinese ethnic who would dominate the economy more broadly in Medan (23.75%). The respondent who did not believe in the performance of Sofyan Tan-Nelly was 22.5%. The respondent who disliked Chinese ethnic was 12.5%. 8.75% respondent did not choose Sofyan Tan because he was not Moslem. Those who disliked vision and mission of Sofyan Tan-Nelly were only 3.75%. Based on the reason, it can be concluded that people did not choose Sofyan Tan because they only believed in the native candidate. The other reason was the fear of ethnic Chinese who will dominate the economy more broadly in Medan. If Chinese also controlled the politics, it would affect negatively on other ethnics. Besides that, the Chinese ethnic attitudes in which they did not socialize with native people raised the fear. If Sofyan Tan became a mayor it would give priority to the interest of Chinese.

Table 3. Reason Respondents Did Not Choose Sofyan Tan in Second Round of Direct Election

Answer Javanese Bataknese Malay Chinese Percentage

The fear of Chinese who will dominate the economy 4.25 8.75 10.75 0 23.75

more broadly

More believe in native candidates 7.5 6.25 7 8 28.75

Dislike to Chinese ethnic 3.75 4 4.5 0 12.5

Not Moslem candidate 2 3 2.5 1.25 8.75

Dislike on vision and mission candidate 1.25 1 0.75 0.75 3.75

Not believe the performance candidate 1.75 2.5 3.25 15 22.5

Source: Survey 2010

According to the above research, it is explained that the winning of Rahudman-Eldin was a social construction based on ethnicity construction. This research has another point of view compared with Edward Aspinnal's research. Aspinnal explained that the first round of the Medan election occurred in a climate of cross-ethnic coalition building. The second round cross-ethnic coalition building changed to religious competition. I argue that the direct election in Medan in 2010 was not about religious competition but inter ethnic competition. In the other words, due the reasons of political history, ethnicity and cultural values of Sofyan Tan is still difficult to be accepted by the public as public official in Medan. There are problems that cannot be resolved with full harmony and equality. Culture, politics and aspirations are very different. The most basic problem and difficult to find the solution is the wide economic gap.

Based on the above data, I argue that ethnicity is dynamic. It occurred in the first round of inter-ethnic competition and then it created a new ethnic or ethnic group that is anti Chinese ethnic. There was a popular term in Medan People stating that the mayor is not Chinese ethnic (abc, asal bukan Cina).

Secondly, the dynamics of ethnicity based on giving a title or clan seems to be a commonplace and easy to do. Sofyan Tan, who comes from the ethnic of China, was awarded as "Marga Ginting" (a clan in Karonese) by head of Karonese community. Maulana Pohan whose identity is as Mandailingnese was awarded as "Marga Sembiring" (a clan in Karonese) from Karo society. Rahudman Harahap was also awarded as "Marga perangin-angin" from Karo society. Ajibshah was awarded "Silitonga" (a clan in Batak Tobanese), and much more. It is the fact that is always found on the eve of direct elections. This condition explained that ethnicity was very open to receive, even to give such awards to others. On the other hand, this condition led to the negative effects namely ethnic internal conflict between them. When mayoral candidate earned a title clan from certain ethnic, it apparently led to protest from the same ethnicity conducted by the other public figures. This internal ethnic conflict was often prolonged conflict. This internal ethnic conflict also showed that constructions of ethnicity also have problems.

5. Election Based on Ethnicity Hinder Sustainability Democracy

The impact of people choice based on ethnicity is the inhibition of the sustainability of democracy. There are various reasons why the issue of ethnic sentiment appears strong in the election process. This is generally because the fight among the candidates in the direct election has a local content. Many candidates were developed representing a particular identity group.

The same thing also happened in Medan. The use of ethnic identity in the political struggle is still going on in

almost all parts of Indonesia, including Medan where people come from a variety of ethnicities. Ethnic is used as a means of campaigning, and attracting of society, especially those from the certain ethnic. The influence of this ethnicity can be seen from community that comes from a particular ethnicity, such as Batak Toba, Batak Mandailing, and Chinese. Batak Mandailing and Chinese have the strongest militancy and are the most primordial of many ethnicities in Medan [32]. This can affect other ethnic groups to be more primordial, and create a political culture in which one candidate selected is based on ethnicity, which can finally refer to the SARA (Suku, Agama, Ras : tribe, religion, race).

In the elections of Medan, the ethnic factor plays an important role. Voters tend to vote for candidates from the same ethnicity. The public did not respond to the campaign program with a free ID card by the candidate Arif Maulana. Candidates Bahdin-Kasim brought free school program could not attract public support. Rahudman-Eldin used Mandailing or Malay ethnic issue to gain public support. Mandailing ethnic and Malay ethnic were always identified as the best ethnic in Medan. In other words, the issue of "native" is very effective to attract the attention of society.

Before direct election in Medan in 2013, many experts predicted that the vote of each candidate based on the ethnicity. These predictions were supported by the society in Medan, which were fragmented into certain ethnic groups based on their ethnicity. One of the interesting things was the emerging of Sofyan Tan who was from ethnic Chinese. Chinese will not be able to attract public sympathy that non-Chinese are sentiment of because of the still large indigenous ethnic Chinese who think that they are not part of the citizen.

So far, the ethnic Chinese community has very low participation rate, but with the presence of Sofyan Tan as a candidate of Medan mayor made the ethnic Chinese community level participation in the election of Medan increase dramatically. Especially in the second round of elections, ethnic factors are very influential in the vote Rahudman Harahap -Eldin and Sofyan Tan-Nelly Armayanti. More communities are led to make choices for a particular ethnic identity bond with one of the candidates. This makes primordial sense unable to be omitted from the society. Society viewed that society interest would be fulfilled by the candidates who are from the same ethnic voters.

It can be one piece of evidence that ethnic identity is still something that is very influential in the politics in Medan. So that people who voted in direct election were based on the elements of ethnic similarities, rather than the vision-mission, which was carried by each candidate who took part in the General Election of 2010 in Medan.

6. Decentralization and Corrupt Elite

The next question is how the impact of decentralization in the city of Medan. Explained at the beginning, decentralization is the transfer of authority from central government to local government. Transfer of the authority intended that local government could provide better services to the local community. In other words, it is to make people closer to decentralization of public service. However, the fact is that poverty has been increasing in the city of Medan. Indonesian Central Statistics Agency (BPS), as of January 1, 2011, states that the number of poor people in the city of Medan increased to 9.92% from 6.40% in 2010. Ironically, the mayor of Medan and governor of North Sumatra Province always were in the same case of corruption. Corruption cases had been experienced by Medan since 2005 when the first direct election was held. The impact of corruption from 2005 to 2010 has caused the changes of the Mayor of Medan five times. History repeated when the elected mayor in 2010 exposed the case of corruption. It is explained that the low level of community participation not only hinders the sustainability of democracy but also affects the implementation of decentralization. Community participation should result in the transformation of leadership but in fact, the low people participation creates a corrupt leader.

7. What Can be Done

Medan is multi-ethnics society. Simple words that can describe ethnicity in Medan are the existence and stereotypes. Daniel Parret explained that ethnicity in North Sumatera was the result of the colonial construction. Colonials constructed the negative stereotype to the ethnicity in North Sumatera. Negative stereotype still occurs until now. There are some terms, such as "Batak eating people, Batak eating pork, Javanese contract, Malay slacker etc. This condition is maintained by the political elite in an attempt to gain political or economic interests. Ethnic diversity in the field was represented by the ethnic organizations to demonstrate the existence in the city of Medan.

Therefore, there are two important points that people can be more intelligent in elections. The first is providing political education to the community or ethnic groups. Political education is very important to provide knowledge to the ethnic groups about the law, democracy and welfare. The second is inter-ethnic dialogue. Dialogue aims to

eliminate the negative stereotype and build the idea about pluralism. 8. Conclusion

Based on the discussion of ethnicity and sustainable democracy, there are several things that could be concluded. Firstly, ethnicity affects political participation in a direct election in Medan. Secondly, the constructivism explains that there were three important arguments about the ethnicity that it is a socially constructed identity, that it is created, that ethnicity is dynamic, and that ethnicity is constructed by the society. These three basic arguments greatly affect the ethnic political participation especially at the political behaviour in the direct election. Thirdly, the election based on ethnicity will hinder sustainability democracy and decentralization. The last, there are two important points that people should be more rational in the direct election; they are political education to the ethnic groups and inter-ethnic dialogue.


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