The winner of the presidential election will shape foreign policy choices for over 270 million Indonesians.
Sriparna Pathak, Associate Professor, Chinese Studies and International Relations, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
The first month of 2024 has already seen three elections in Asian countries–Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Taiwan. February will witness elections in at least two more Asian countries–Pakistan and Indonesia. In all these countries, the effects of great power competition–between the United States and China have been important issues for consideration. Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest democracy, goes to polls on February 14. The election is unique and will have an impact on geopolitics given the role China has in international politics, which, in turn, affects national politics.
In Indonesia, the presidential election is a three-way race between Prabowo Subianto who is an ex-special forces commander and current president Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s two-time election opponent-turned-defence minister; Ganjar Pranowo–the former Central Java governor and Anies Baswedan–the former governor of Jakarta. Joko Widodo, the popular incumbent, cannot contest elections as his second and last possible term ends this year. Jokowi has shown support for Prabowo Subianto and Jokowi’s eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka is Subianto’s running mate.
The winner of the presidential election will shape foreign policy choices for over 270 million Indonesians. To understand the directions Indonesian foreign policy may take under either of the three contestants, it is pertinent to understand the existing foreign policy outlook of Indonesia under Jokowi. Since he took office in 2014, Jokowi has put forth a domestic-centred, economy-first foreign policy, to develop Indonesia into one of the world’s top five economies by 2045. In 2022, with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.3 trillion, Indonesia ranked at the 16th place.
Published in: Hindustan Times
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