DPG Policy Brief

Prabowo Subianto’s Victory: Another Democratic Transition of Power in Indonesia

Date: February 19, 2024
In the world’s largest ‘single day’ election, voters in Indonesia went to the polls to elect the successor to the immensely popular current President Joko Widodo ‘Jokowi’ on February 14, 2024. Although the official results will not be announced till March 20, 2024, the country’s reliable ‘quick counts’ system has projected that Prabowo Subianto, the current Defence Minister, has emerged victorious with an estimated 58.71 % of the vote.

In this brief, the author examines Indonesia’s political landscape during the 75 day-election process. Drawing upon campaign promises and policy pronouncements, she suggests that Prabowo will largely continue with Jokowi’s foreign policy, especially ‘non-membership of any geopolitical bloc,’ but may adopt a more assertive stance on defence and security issues.

The election results mark a massive victory for Prabowo, after two previous failed attempts. His win is largely due to the support he received from Jokowi, and to his revamped online image as a level-headed politician, rather than the military strongman he had previously portrayed.

Despite the various controversies surrounding the election campaign and the candidates, Indonesian voters preferred a candidate more likely to continue Jokowi’s signature policies, especially on the economy, which have helped control inflation and provide welfare for all disadvantaged groups.

Finally, the author points out that while many analysts believe that Jokowi’s legacy will linger under Prabowo, the latter’s authoritarian bent also brings an element of unpredictability as Indonesia enters the third decade of its democracy era.

To read this Policy Brief Vol. IX, Issue 7, please click “Prabowo Subianto’s Victory: Another Democratic Transition of Power in Indonesia”.