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Seminar on “The Indonesian Elections 2019: A Preview”

INDONESIA STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR

Monday, 15 April 2019 – Two days before the Election Day in Indonesia, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute held a seminar on the 2019 Indonesian elections. The seminar, moderated by Dr Norshahril Saat, provided a sneak preview into what to expect after Indonesians go to the polls on 17 April 2019. Speakers assessed the standing of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates Joko Widodo – Ma’ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto – Sandiaga Uno, as well as the various political parties.


From left: Dr Budi Irawanto, Dr Najib Burhani and Mr Made Supriatma shared their preliminary findings from fieldwork conducted in different regions of Indonesia. Dr Norshahril Saat (Second from left) is moderator of the seminar. (Credit: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

Three presenters, Dr Budi Irawanto, Dr Najib Burhani and Mr Made Supriatma, shared their preliminary findings from fieldwork conducted in different regions of Indonesia, including East and Central Java, South Sumatra and Lampung. Mr Supriatma began the presentation by giving the sociological and political landscape in outside Java and the way presidential candidates and political parties conducted their campaign in low coordination. Identity and money politics have played role in mobilizing the voters.

In Central Java, Dr Irawanto found limited coattail effect from party coalitions to the local politicians. The local parliamentary candidates still need to do their campaign to gain votes. For Prabowo’s supporters, debunking the stronghold of PDI-P and Jokowi in Solo was a big challenge. Dr Burhani in particular examined Islamic political parties and significant Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah in the elections. He explained the cleavage of the elections and the emergence of the rise of authoritarianism through ideological war within and between the Islamic organizations.

The seminar gave an overview regarding the strength of Indonesian democratic institutions amidst the rise of identity politics, the use of social media, and the potential role of the millennials. All three presenters predicted that the election was Joko Widodo’s to lose, and this was reflected based on their field research on the ground.


The audience engaged the researchers in a discussion on a wide variety of topics, including the importance of Islamic mobilization, the role of parametric groups and organizational battles, and millennials’ perception before the elections. (Credit: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)

Eighty-nine attendees from a different background, ranging from government officials, diplomats, members of parliament, businesspeople, international organizations, private sector, media, academician, and the public, joined the 120-minutes seminar. They engaged in a discussion on a wide variety of topics, including the importance of Islamic mobilization, the role of parametric groups and organizational battles, and millennials’ perception before the elections.