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Indonesia’s legislative elections: What to look out for

indonesia-elections

10 Apr Indonesia’s legislative elections: What to look out for

Indonesia voted in legislative elections on April 9. Only parties winning 25 per cent of the popular vote or 20 per cent of seats in the house can nominate a candidate for president; parties which fall short of these thresholds would need to nominate a coalition. Here are three things to watch out for while waiting for the official results, as well as looking toward the presidential elections:

The performance of the PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle) vis-à-vis Gerindra and Golkar. Megawati Sukarnoputri, the leader of the PDI-P, timed the nomination of Joko Widodo (Jokowi), the widely popular governor of Jakarta, for before the legislative elections. This was likely in order to use his “halo” in order to boost votes for her party. However, exit polling shows that this was not as effective as expected. When the official results are released, it is important to watch the share of the vote that Golkar and Gerindra, the two other major parties, would receive, which would have implications for coalition politics.

Coalition politics and its impact on government. Although Jokowi is highly popular, the PDI-P may not garner enough votes to win an outright majority, meaning that it will have to form a coalition with smaller parties in order to form a government. The PDI-P may form an alliance with Golkar or Gerindra, and the alliance party would want to choose the vice-presidential candidate. If Jokowi becomes president, as is likely, he would have to contend with his coalition partners’ demands, which could dampen momentum for reform.

The shadow of Megawati. Jokowi has only been able to run for president due to the backing of Megawati. However, if he becomes president, he will have to contend with not only the interests of his coalition partners, but also those of Megawati. Might Indonesia face a case of a leadership split within the main ruling party, due to her influence in the PDI-P?

Sources:

Jokowi admits results not as expected [Jakarta Post, 9 April 2014]

Can Jokowi rise above Indonesia’s toxic coalition politics? [Lowy Interpreter, 20 March 2014]