On July 9, Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country and third largest democracy, will go to the polls to elect its fifth president since the end of the authoritarian government of President Suharto in 1998. Sixteen years after that violent political succession, when Indonesia’s economy was reeling from the Asian financial crisis and many observers feared Balkanization in Indonesia, Indonesia has emerged as a stable democracy, a rising economic power, and an increasingly important global player.
Politically, the election marks the end of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s constitutionally limited two terms as Indonesia’s first directly elected president in the modern era and strongly suggests democracy is now entrenched in Indonesia. While Indonesians might not always like their politicians, public polling and the sentiment on the street suggest little appetite to abandon their new political system.
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Director, East and Southeast Asia