Indonesia's Incredible Elections
On 17 April, Indonesia is holding one of the most complicated elections the world has ever seen. While India, the world’s most populous democracy, takes six weeks to complete its election, Indonesia does it all in a single day.
In the main presidential contest, incumbent Joko Widodo is taking on long-time rival Prabowo Subianto in a replay of the 2014 race. Jokowi, as the president is known, is the favourite to win, according to opinion polls. At the same time, in the world’s third most populous democracy, there are more than 245,000 candidates competing for 20,000 seats in the national parliament and local legislatures.
This is the fourth direct presidential election since the fall of Suharto, Indonesia’s long-ruling autocrat, in 1998. Once again, most observers expect the vote to be free and fair, in sharp contrast to the recent election in nearby Thailand, where the military junta tilted the playing field strongly in its favour.