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The selection process for local head candidates in the electoral democracy in Indonesia is still closed and confidential. Recruitment regulations are insufficient to control the informal actions of the candidate selection process, which is based on political pragmatism. This paper examines the dynamics of local head candidate selection from the rational choice institutionalism approach, with the collective action perspective. The research method uses content analysis, with analyzed interpretively using the NVivo 12 plus application. Research findings show that candidate selection in political parties is not entirely based on supply and demand but as a rational choice formed from the collective actions of party elites. In deciding the mayoral candidate in Makassar City in Indonesia 2020, political parties are influenced by collective mentality, individual quality, group size and resources in political parties. The conclusion is that the rational choice institutionalism approach through the practices of principal-agent, game-theory and rule-based models occurs in the selection of local head candidates. This rational choice institutionalism approach explains the tension between political actors to maximize personal and group interests in political party institutions.
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