Hard-Line Political Islam Isn’t the Only Threat to Indonesia’s Democracy

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, his wife, Iriana, and Vice President Jusuf Kalla applaud during a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the country’s independence, Jakarta, Aug. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, his wife, Iriana, and Vice President Jusuf Kalla applaud during a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the country’s independence, Jakarta, Aug. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).
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The stakes of the election for governor of Jakarta earlier this year were, in the eyes of nearly all observers, much larger than that particular office. After all, it was only five years ago that Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, used his victory in the same race to transform himself from a well-regarded but somewhat obscure mayor into a powerful national figure. With that precedent in mind, the candidates and their backers saw the election—a two-round affair held in February and April—as an opportunity to position themselves for general elections in 2019. The incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja […]

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