Next month, 190 million Indonesians will vote for their president and parliament in one of the largest single-day elections the world has ever seen. Incumbent President Joko Widodo and rival Prabowo Subianto are facing off in a replay of the bitterly-fought 2014 campaign.
Indonesia has become a vibrant and competitive democracy. But human rights activists are worried about the government’s use of legal tools against its opponents and the exploitation of heated religious rhetoric as a campaign tool. Meanwhile, vested interests in the armed forces, bureaucracy, and established political parties are stymying much-needed reforms.
Eminent Indonesian political expert Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar, and Director of Lowy Institute’s Southeast Asia Project Ben Bland, discussed the elections, the state of democracy in Indonesia, and the implications for Indonesia’s international relations.
Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar is a Research Professor at the Centre for Politics at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. She previously served as Deputy Secretary in the Vice President’s office from 2010-2017 and as a senior foreign affairs official from 1998-1999. She has also advised many international organisations and is currently a governing board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Professor Dewi Fortuna Anwar’s visit to Australia is part of the ASEAN-Australia Visiting Fellows Program at the Lowy Institute, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.