Indonesia’s 2014 Elections: How Jokowi Won and Democracy Survived

Issue Date October 2014
Volume 25
Issue 4
Page Numbers 111-125
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This article discusses the 2014 presidential elections in Indonesia, which saw a strong populist challenge launched against the country’s young democracy. Prabowo Subianto, the former son-in-law of longtime autocrat Suharto, promised to roll back many of the democratic reforms of the last 15 years. Prabowo came within a hair’s breadth of winning the presidency, but ultimately lost out to Joko Widodo, a political newcomer from Central Java. The article evaluates what Widodo’s victory (and Prabowo’s strong campaign) tell us about the state of Indonesian democracy, and about the challenges that Widodo will face in leading Indonesia into the next phase of democratic strengthening.