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Jakarta Post

Indonesian democracy at its lowest point in almost 20 years: Scholars 

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Canberra   /   Sat, September 21, 2019   /  12:07 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Five more years: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, accompanied by running mate Ma’ruf Amin, delivers a victory speech to residents of Johar Baru in Central Jakarta on May 21. The General Elections Commission had earlier declared Jokowi and Ma’ruf the winners of the 2019 presidential election with 55.5 percent of the vote, while challengers Prabowo Subianto and running mate Sandiaga Uno secured 44.5 percent. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Is Indonesia’s much-lauded democracy backsliding? A growing number of observers agree that Indonesia is not a full democracy, but instead has evolved into some other, more illiberal form of democratic government.  According to Australian National University (ANU) political scientists Edward Aspinall and Marcus Mietzner, Indonesia meets the requirements for an “electoral democracy”, which constitutes “the minimal level in the hierarchy of democratic polities”. But other important features of a full democracy, like protections for minorities, freedom of speech and freedom of organization have all eroded over the course of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo presidencies.  Recent events confirm the worrying state of Indonesian democracy. A wave of online and offline protests led by activists, academics and memb...