ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Personality Cult and Majoritarian Conservatism

Elections in Indonesia

The organisation of political discourse and the citizen’s imagination around the personality cults of leaders and ascendant majoritarianism in Indonesia raises concerns about the health of democracy.

The 2019 election has proven to be the most complicated election in the history of Indonesia. Held on 17 April 2019, two contestants were competing for the presidency, and more than 2,45,000 candidates were contesting for the 20,000 seats in both national and local parliaments. Involving approximately 193 million registered voters spread out among 17,000 islands, and around 8,00,000 voting booths managed by more than 6 million election workers, the five ballots were cast in a single day and then counted manually at each level (from districts to cities, provinces, and the national level). Many argued that this was the biggest direct election in the world, judging by the complicated process, the humongous scale, and the logistical challenge (Bland 2019). Not to mention, by the end of the process, more than 550 election workers, police officers, and the election watcher have died (Sitepu 2019).

After a long and complicated process, the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the final result on 21 May. Joko Widodo (Jokowi) won the second term of the presidency by a 10% margin (Tehusijarana et al 2019). As many had predicted, the result sparked a chain of protests up in the Jakarta. People who rejected the decision swarmed around the Election Watch Office (Bawaslu) and demanded them to change the official result. Riots broke in the capital city of Jakarta on 21–22 May, with eight people killed, more than 700 protesters injured, social media limitations, the arrest of around 400 people, including former military officer and politicians, and the police’s claim that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was behind the riots (Tehusijarana and Valentina 2019; Human Rights Watch 2019; South China Morning Post 2019).

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Updated On : 12th Sep, 2019
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