Understanding Indonesia’s 2024 Presidential Election: Watershed Moment or Anti-Climax?


Since the resignation of President Abdurahman Wahid in 2002, Indonesia’s electoral politics has effectively operated as a “semi-cartel” of political parties that have entered parliament, with some of the parties being vehicles for the political ambitions of individual figures, but basically homogeneous in political and economic outlook. The politics of personal rivalry has facilitated the politics of dynasty building, which led to the characterization of national politics as a theatre of rhetorical polarization among the political elite.

However, dynasty building leading up to the 2024 election is being perceived by some important segments of Indonesia’s political class as violating the rules of the game. While the political contestation between the three presidential candidates – Baswedan, Subianto and Pranowo – is still contained within an acceptable status quo, new cleavages are beginning to emerge.

The role of Islamists has been less significant in the run up to the 2024 presidential election. Their political power has been weakening because, first, they have been the target of state repression, and second, the shift of political alliance among nationalist and religious elites results in the Islamists losing access to political mobilization resources.

This seminar will discuss whether the current situation will be a watershed in Indonesian politics giving rise to real differentiation among political actors or whether the shared fundamental policy framework will facilitate a collapse back into the politics of unanimity of the last 20 years.

About the Speakers

Dr Max Lane is Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. His latest books are INDONESIA OUT OF EXILE: How Pramoedya’s Buru Quartet Killed a Dictatorship (Penguin 2023) and Saudara Berdiri di Pihak Yang Mana? Politik Seni Subversif Rendra (Djaman Baroe 2024). His other books include Unfinished Nation: Indonesia Before and After Suharto (Verso), An Introduction to the Politics of the Indonesian Union Movement (ISEAS) and Catastrophe in Indonesia (Seagull). He is also the translator of several works by Pramoedya Ananta Toer and W.S. Rendra.

Dr A’an Suryana is Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. He also teaches political science at the Faculty of Social Sciences (FOSS), Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) at Depok, Indonesia. He is the Managing Editor of Muslim Politics Review, a peer-reviewed international journal published by FOSS.


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

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

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


Feb 01 2024


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar