Indonesia is the world’s third most populous democracy. Indonesians will vote to elect a president, vice-president, and national and local legislators on 14 February in the world’s largest election held on a single day. If none of the three presidential candidates receives more than half of the total popular vote, the two with the most votes will compete in a second round on 26 June. Leading in the polls is Indonesia’s current minister of defense and former army general Prabowo Subianto. Implicated in human rights violations, he was dishonorably discharged from the military in 1998 and later denied entry into the United States, a ban lifted in 2020. Opposing him are Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, former governors of Central Java and Jakarta, respectively, and both younger than Prabowo. The panel will discuss the impact of the election on Indonesia’s democracy and the country’s domestic and foreign policies going forward.
Sana Jaffrey, resident at ANU, is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She has more than 15 years of experience doing research in Indonesia. As director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in Jakarta (2021-2022), she and her research team reported on violent conflict and extremism in Southeast Asia. At the World Bank (200-2013) she led the implementation of its National Violence Monitoring System (NVMS) data project in Indonesia. Outlets that have carried her writings include Comparative Politics, Foreign Policy, the Journal of East Asian Studies, and Studies in Comparative International Development. Her doctorate is from the University of Chicago.
R. William Liddle specializes in the politics of Southeast Asia, especially political leadership and voting behavior in Indonesia. His many publications include Dua Negeri, Empat Pemimpin [Two Countries, Four Leaders] (2021) comparing Indonesian and American presidents, written in Indonesian for the Jakarta daily Kompas. His media venues have included the PBS NewsHour, the BBC, and many Indonesian TV and radio broadcasts. His scholarship and his mentorship of Indonesian students were honored by Indonesia’s Ministry of Education in 2018 and the Achmad Bakrie Foundation and the Freedom Institute in 2022. He is the first non-Indonesian to have received the Bakrie Award since its inception in 2003. His doctorate is from Yale.
Gita Wirjawan, at Stanford, is researching the directions that nation-building is taking in Southeast Asia and related sustainability issues involving the US. His experience in government and business has included positions such as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade; chair of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board; and founding chair of the Jakarta-based equity fund Ancora Group and the Ancora Foundation. He has held key positions with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, served as commissioner of Indonesia’s state oil company, Pertamina, and continues to host the popular education podcast “Endgame.” His advanced degrees are from the Harvard Kennedy School (MPA) and Baylor University (BA).