In Indonesia’s presidential race, identity politics fuelled by social media is testing both democracy and diversity

Press/Media

Period12 Feb 2019

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleIn Indonesia’s presidential race, identity politics fuelled by social media is testing both democracy and diversity
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletscmp (South China Morning Post)
    Media typeWeb
    CountryIndonesia
    Date12/02/19
    DescriptionPost
    Indonesian President Joko Widodo (left) and his opponent in the presidential race, Prabowo Subianto, applaud at an event to kick off campaigning for the 2019 general election at the National Monument in Jakarta on September 23, 2018. Photo: AFPIndonesian President Joko Widodo (left) and his opponent in the presidential race, Prabowo Subianto, applaud at an event to kick off campaigning for the 2019 general election at the National Monument in Jakarta on September 23, 2018. Photo: AFP
    Indonesian President Joko Widodo (left) and his opponent in the presidential race, Prabowo Subianto, applaud at an event to kick off campaigning for the 2019 general election at the National Monument in Jakarta on September 23, 2018. Photo: AFP
    In two months, Indonesians will elect their next president, choosing between the incumbent, President Joko Widodo, and ex-general Prabowo Subianto. This is a rerun of the 2014 election, when Widodo, who quit his position as Jakarta’s governor, defeated the same rival by a 6 per cent margin. In today’s Indonesia, with its complex democracy, diverse population and the world’s largest Muslim population, this is not a mere routine at five-year intervals. Larger issues loom over this political contest, which might determine the country’s future.
    April’s election will be the largest since Indonesia began the process of democratisation in 1998, with both the presidential and legislative polls being held at the same time across the country. What is at stake and why?
    First, the social solidarity of Indonesia’s over 250 million people – spread across more than 17,000 islands, with over 700 languages spoken by 300 ethnic groups – is under threat.
    PersonsMelani Budianta