Proposing constitutional reform and the process of establishing it are two distinct matters. The former is largely a normative projection of what could be whilst the latter involves the manner in which reform is brought about. In reality, translating proposals into accepted practice involves overcoming legacies of the past. Whether or not they can persist over time is a process that is invariably fraught and often generates mixtures of trade-off and compromise. The following paper examines the merits or otherwise of a gradualist approach to constitution-making. By anatomizing the constitutional reform process that took place in Indonesia from 1999-2002, it considers whether or not such an approach is appropriate for establishing meaningful constitutionalism in plural and divided societies.
Keywords: Constitutional Reform, Constitutionalism, Indonesia, Authoritarian legacies
Paul J. Carnegie is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam. His research specializes in comparative democratization, human security and localized responses to militant extremism with a specific focus on Indonesia and Southeast Asia alongside the Asia Pacific more generally. Paul has published widely in his fields including the monograph The Road from Authoritarianism to Democratization in Indonesia (Palgrave Macmillan), the edited volume Human Insecurities in Southeast Asia (Springer) and research output in leading international journals including Pacific Affairs, Australian Journal of Politics and History and Australian Journal of International Affairs. He has extensive applied research experience and networks having lived and worked previously in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Egypt, Fiji and the United Arab Emirates.