On 14 February 2024 more than 200 million eligible voters (more than half below 40) in Indonesia will elect the next president and vice-president as well as choosing executive and legislative representatives at all administrative levels. Focus is especially on the presidential election that see ex-Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan (candidate #1), Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto (candidate #2), and ex-Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo (candidate #3), competing.

The election has become a test for democracy and political integrity with the process marred by Machiavellian machinations, populist gimmicks and unethical practices involving the current President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). As the Guardian puts it “There is unease among civil society groups, and others, that Jokowi is trying to retain influence even after leaving office. His son Gibran was only able to run as vice-president of candidate [for Prabowo Subianto] after a court, headed by Jokowi’s brother-in-law, tweaked eligibility criteria”.  The lack of neutrality and tacit approval of the extremely popular President for his previous 2-times election opponent Prabowo Subianto, a former General with an authoritarian past, is skewing the election outcomes. Concerns about the role of political dynasties, the abuse of social aid and other government resources by the President himself and the state apparat, and candidate #2’s poor human rights record are leading to protests and challenging the strength of Indonesian democracy.

In the belief that this election in a country so far seen as “the region’s democratic linchpin” has major implications also for the entire region, SEA Junction held a panel discussion “Hopes and Fears on the Eve of the Indonesian Presidential Election” on 13 February 2024 at 5.30 pm at SEA Junction. Our director Rosalia Sciortino moderate the event and the panel speakers were:

  • Richard C. Paddock, foreign correspondent New York Times
  • Kharisma Nugroho, Research Fellow, Migunani Research Institute Jogjakarta
  • Galuh Wandita, Co-Founder & Director of Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) [online]


SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions, from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 407-8 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information, see, join the Facebook group: and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @seajunction.

Photo credit: SEA Junction