22 May 2014
Indonesia’s fifth presidential election post-Suharto is taking place under the shadow of Sukarno. Whether it will be Jokowi or Prabowo as president, the kingmaker behind the throne has to be reckoned with. Will there be a new post of prime minister?
Indonesia’s big contest to elect its next president has begun, with 185 million registered to vote in the third direct presidential election in post-Suharto Indonesia this 9 July. It is now a straight fight between two new political players – Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”), and former special forces general Prabowo Subianto. The real winner, though, is already apparent – the enduring legacy of Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president. This in itself suggests a certain direction that the country may take over the next five years.
Jokowi is the candidate of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), the winner of the 9 April parliamentary elections, the successor of Sukarno’s nationalist PNI, and whose leader is Sukarno’s daughter, Megawati Sukarnoputri. Jokowi himself until lately little known outside his Central Java hometown, is an enigma of a man. His sweeping popularity, due to his common touch rather than fiery oratory, is probably not seen since Sukarno. Strangely, the image and proletarian philosophy of Sukarno is more asserted by Jokowi’s rival: in a highly symbolic show, Prabowo declared his candidacy in Sukarno’s former house in East Jakarta.
… Yang Razali Kassim is Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This also appeared in The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
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