Daily Review: The Legacies Prabowo Inherits in Indonesia

Daily Review: The Legacies Prabowo Inherits in Indonesia
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka deliver their speech after drawing the electoral number that will represent them in February’s presidential election, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nov. 14, 2023 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

Prabowo Subianto appeared on track to win Indonesia’s presidential election, which was held today, according to unofficial tallies. The current defense minister, who has a controversial human rights record, had a commanding lead in the three-way race, meaning a runoff election will likely be unnecessary. (New York Times)

Our Take

It’s worth noting that official results in Indonesia can take weeks to be finalized. After all, the country’s elections are an extraordinary logistical feat, with polling stations spread out across thousands of islands. Nevertheless, these projections are based on unofficial tallies by independent polling companies that have a strong track record of being accurate.

Assuming they hold, Indonesia’s next leader will be a man who was discharged from the military in 1998 after he was found to have been involved in the abduction and torture of pro-democracy activists under the country’s former dictator, Suharto. Prabowo’s image in the past decade has undergone a major rehabilitation, but his background has meant that his election is being framed as a threat to Indonesia’s democracy.

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