from Asia Unbound

Indonesia’s Election: Drift in the Most Important State in Southeast Asia

Indonesia's presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures as he speaks during a debate with his opponent Joko Widodo (not pictured) in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 17, 2019. Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

March 20, 2019

Indonesia's presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures as he speaks during a debate with his opponent Joko Widodo (not pictured) in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 17, 2019. Willy Kurniawan/Reuters
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Southeast Asia

Indonesia

Democracy

Elections and Voting

Indonesia, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia and long the dominant strategic actor, is a country whose bilateral relationship with the United States has historically underperformed its potential. As I noted in a Council Special Report, U.S.-Indonesia economic and security ties lag Washington’s links with other leading countries in the region, though Indonesia is becoming one of the biggest consumer markets in the world, and wields the most influence over regional diplomacy.

But the country is drifting, in economic reforms and its commitment to democracy. Islamist groups have become emboldened, undermining secularism and targeting minorities. Unfortunately, presidential elections in Indonesia on April 17 are probably not going to revitalize Indonesian politics. For more on the upcoming election, and its possible impact on regional security and U.S.-Indonesia relations, see my new CFR article.

More on:

Southeast Asia

Indonesia

Democracy

Elections and Voting

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