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Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 00:21 | SYDNEY
Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 00:21 | SYDNEY

Indonesian democracy: Action and sentiment

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5 May 2009 10:13

Last night the head of Indonesia's anti-corruption watchdog was arrested on murder charges. It's another wobble on the path to a full democracy. As Kevin Evans said 'while the arrest has sent shockwaves through the anti-corruption establishment, the arrest could prove that the system is working'.

When it comes to Indonesian democracy it seems there is a much larger body of support than is commonly recognised. In our 2006 Lowy Poll Australians felt Indonesia was a military threat, a dangerous source of terrorism and essentially controlled by the military. A more recent poll from World Public Opinion has some remarkable findings on the extent of democratic feelings in Indonesia.

Asked whether, as a general rule, 'government leaders should be selected through elections in which all citizens can vote' or whether they should be selected some other way, 97% of Indonesians said they should be selected through elections where citizens can vote. Out of 22 nations surveyed that was the largest majority. Indonesia also had the equal highest mean rating when people were asked 'how much do you think this country should be governed according to the will of the people?' 

Interestingly for Australians worried about Indonesia, when Indonesians were asked 'In developing its foreign policy how much do you think the government takes into account world public opinion?' Indonesia had the equal highest mean rating of 19 nations (on the scale used 0 meant 'not at all' and 10 meant 'a great deal'. Using the same scale Indonesia also had the highest mean rating when asked 'how much do you think government should take into account world public opinion?'

That strength of sentiment would suggest democracy is in pretty safe hands in Indonesia.

Photo by Flickr user BALIwww.com, used under a Creative Commons license.

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