Democracy Delayed? Interim Regional Leaders and Indonesia’s 2024 Elections


About the Seminar

Indonesia will hold simultaneous local, parliamentary and presidential elections in November 2024. The terms of approximately 270 elected regional and local leaders, however, have or will come to an end prior to 2024, some as early as mid-2022. The national government has determined that rather than hosting end of term elections, these regional leaders will be replaced by interim leaders chosen directly by the Ministry of Home Affairs from among existing bureaucrats. This has, unsurprisingly, resulted in significant controversy including challenges in the Constitutional Court and criticism it constitutes a form of democratic disenfranchisement.

This seminar will approach the phenomenon of interim regional leaders from two perspectives. The first is in the context of political manoeuvring among elites prior to 2024. It will examine the case of Jakarta, a key political battleground, where the former governor and recently announced presidential candidate, Anies Baswedan, has been replaced by Heru Budi Hartono, a career bureaucrat considered a close ally of the President. Rather than operating in caretaker mode, Hartono has instigated several populist measures identified with the previous governorship of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, suggesting interim leaders may be ‘weaponised’ as part of 2024 electoral campaigning.

The second considers the broader context of Indonesia’s post-1998 democratic gains. Despite trends towards executive illiberalism, Indonesia’s electoral democracy is widely considered as institutionally consolidated. There have been in recent years however regular legislative and ideological attacks on the legitimacy of direct elections. In the seminar it will be asked, is the interim leader phenomenon reflective of deeper structural challenges to the integrity of Indonesia’s democratic electoral system?

About the Speaker

Dr Ian Douglas Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics and Security Studies, Academic Chair of the Global Security Program and Co-Director of the recently established Indo-Pacific Research Centre at Murdoch University, Western Australia. His research interests cover Indonesian politics and society, in particular the dynamics of street politics and urban social movements. He is the author of The Politics of Protection Rackets (2015) and Politik Tenaga Dalam (2020).


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

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Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


Nov 14 2022


GMT +8
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar