Jokowi saves Indonesia’s democracy (and maybe Southeast Asia’s too)

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana show their ballots before giving their vote during the presidential election. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

Many years from now, the electoral victory of Indonesia’s president-elect Joko Widodo (Jokowi) may be seen as pivotal to the fate of democracy and regionalism in Southeast Asia. A win by Jokowi’s opponent Prabowo Subianto would have been a retrograde step for Indonesia, promising shades of authoritarianism even with a popular mandate. Jokowi’s victory, on the other hand, bodes well not just for Indonesia’s future but also for the region’s democratic prospects and ASEAN’s forward momentum. Read more…

Indonesia has to make hard decisions on debt

Indonesian workers at a construction site in Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 November 2013. Indonesian policy makers will have to tackle a fear of international borrowing in order to invest in much-needed infrastructure. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter McCawley, ANU

Indonesia’s next president will need significant funds to fulfil election promises. But both candidates Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto have expressed caution about international borrowings.

So should Indonesia undertake the risks of borrowing from overseas? Read more…

Indonesia’s democratic strength

Two Indonesian women show their fingers marked with ink after they voted at a polling station in Banda Aceh, 9 July 2014. Although uncertainties will remain until the last vote is counted, this election is a great victory for the people of Indonesia. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Democracy has taken a battering in Southeast Asia in recent times, as Thailand, the region’s second-largest economy and one of its economic success stories over the past few decades, has fallen prey to yet another military coup. So it is with a mixture of pride and relief that Indonesia — the region’s largest economy, the world’s third-largest democracy, the world’s largest Muslim country and the epicentre of the ASEAN polity — is on the cusp of successful completion of the election of its new president Read more…

Indonesian democracy stronger, but not yet out of the danger zone

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto applauds after addressing a rally on 11 July 2014. Both sides claimed victory on 9 July 2014 in the tightest and most divisive Indonesian presidential election since the end of authoritarian rule. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Edward Aspinall, ANU

Last week’s presidential election will be remembered as one of the most significant events in Indonesia’s modern history. The all-but-certain defeat of ex-general Prabowo Subianto, and the election of Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi), represents not only the victory of one candidate over another but also the preservation of Indonesia’s post-Suharto democratic system — if only by the skin of its teeth. Read more…

Indonesia’s presidential elections: Jokowi in, Prabowo out

Indonesian electoral officials check ballot boxes at a local election center the day after presidential elections in Jakarta on 10 July, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Marcus Mietzner, ANU
Indonesians went to the polls on 9 July to elect a successor to Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had served two terms between 2004 and 2014 and thus was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election.

Two candidates stood in the elections, and the contrast between them couldn’t have been starker: Read more…

Indonesia on the precipice of progress

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo gestures to journalists after a press conference in Jakarta on 10 July, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew MacIntyre, RMIT University

Let’s start with the good news.

Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy and largest Muslim country, has succeeded in conducting a very robust and yet peaceful direct presidential election — for the third time in succession. In the hours following the close of voting, it looked as though there was a narrow but clear victory for Joko Widodo (Jokowi). Read more…

Indonesia’s transport planning lacks rigour

A train loaded with passengers heads to central Jakarta. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Howard Dick, University of Melbourne

Both of Indonesia’s presidential candidates have committed to tackling the country’s deficient infrastructure. Joko Widodo (Jokowi) promises 2000 kilometres of roads, ten new airports and seaports and ten new industrial zones, while Prabowo Subianto promises 3000 kilometres of roads and 4000 kilometres of railways. Read more…

Military build-up inevitable under Indonesia’s new president

Two Indonesian presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo smile after the conclusion of the third presidential debate tackling foreign policy and national defence issues on 22 June 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Pierre Marthinus and Isidora Happy Apsari, Marthinus Academy

The third Indonesian presidential debate on international politics and national defence, held on 22 June, has shed further light on the foreign policy platforms of presidential hopefuls Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’).

Both candidates are offering two entirely different grand designs for foreign policy. Read more…

Foreign concepts in Indonesia’s third presidential debate

Indonesian presidential candidates, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto, and their running mates, Jusuf Kalla and Hatta Rajasa, pose for a photo with the Chair of General Election Commission (KPU), Husni Kamil Manik. The Indonesian presidential election will be held on 9 July 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Yohanes Sulaiman, Indonesian National Defense University

Indonesia’s third presidential debate on foreign policy, held on 22 June, presents both good and bad news for observers of Indonesia’s upcoming election. The good news is that neither candidate rocked the boat. They committed to maintaining the status quo, saying they would continue current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s policy of a ‘thousand friends and zero enemies’. Read more…

Jokowi, democracy winners in Indonesia’s tightening presidential race

Prabowo Subianto greets and smiles to Joko Widodo shortly after the second presidential debate in Jakarta, Indonesia, 15 June 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

There has been a growing sense that Indonesia’s presidential elections on 9 July will be much closer than initially thought and that hard man Prabowo Subianto could be a real contender for office. If Prabowo is successful, his presidency would be expected to fundamentally re-shape the orientation of Indonesia’s post-Suharto era. Read more…

Ideology resurgent in Indonesia’s presidential coalitions

Indonesian presidential candidate Probowo Subianto of Gerindra and his running mate Hatta Rajasa salute their supporters as they rally on a street. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Tom Power, ANU

Although there has been widespread academic scepticism on the importance of ideology in Indonesia’s recent elections, posturing by presidential candidates suggests that this year’s election may be different. A single-round showdown is now certain. Gerindra chief patron Prabowo Subianto and National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Hatta Rajasa will be pitted against Joko Widodo and former vice-president Jusuf Kalla. Read more…