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Open Discussion: Indonesia’s Democracy and the Road to Elections 2014
August 23, 2017 - 10:13
On 27 March 2014, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Copenhagen, in cooperation with Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and Nordic Indonesia Studies Network (NISN) organized an Open Discussion on the topic of Indonesia’s upcoming elections 2014. The event was hosted by NIAS, and attracted a broad audience including academics, diplomats, business people and students.
Indonesia held its legislative election on 9 April and will hold its presidential election on 9 July 2014. The fact that the elections will bring a new leadership in Indonesia raises many question marks in the course of Indonesia’s democracy and political development of the country. The upcoming elections will be a key determinant of Indonesia’s democratic commitment at least in the next five years.
A panelist consisting of Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra (Professor of History and Director of Graduate School, Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University, Jakarta), Ph.D. Carlo Bonura (Senior Teaching Fellow in Southeast Asian Politics at SOAS, University of London), Vera Altmeyer (PhD candidate Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University), and Mark Philip Stadler (PhD candidate Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen) lead the discussions. The panelists each gave short inputs on their views on Indonesia’s democracy in general, on the upcoming elections, and on how these may influence Indonesia’s future democratic development. Moderated brilliantly by Flemming Ytzen (journalist and NIAS Associate), the inputs by the panelist commenced an interesting panel debate, followed by a lively discussion with the audience.
Set off by the panelists introductory thoughts about the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia, the discussion thus covered forecasts of possible scenarios with regard to the election results, debates of the progress and challenges to Indonesia’s democracy today, as well as how it should be addressed by the new to-be-elected leadership. The future possible presidential candidates were also briefly discussed. The panel agreed that currently, the most likely candidate to win the presidential election is the Governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (also known as Jokowi), who runs as candidate for the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
The event raised awareness about the upcoming Indonesian elections, and the major consequences these may have for “Asia’s Third Giant.” Moreover, it addressed the role of democracy in general as well as the importance of continuously debating this issue.
As the legislative election was held subsequent to the discussion at NIAS, it mays serve well as a closing remark to mention the preliminary results: Jokowi and his party, PDI-P, had been expected to win the most votes at the legislative election. While the official legislative election results has not yet been announced, quick counts by various polling institutes after the close of balloting gave only around 19 percent of the vote to PDI-P and Jokowi. The legislative election thus failed to produce a clear winner leaving Indonesia’s political parties even more busy building alliances.