How much should be Indonesia worried about the country’s future?

The campaign before Jakarta gubernatorial election was described by daily Jakarta Post as the dirtiest, most polarizing and most divisive the nation has ever seen. As incumbent governor Basuki Purnama is Christian and has Chinese roots also the question of religion and nationality played the role in the campaign. In your opinion what does this campaign tell us about Indonesian politics and society, would you agree with Jakarta Post description or not and why? Read few comments.

Michael Montesano, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

The comments in The Jakarta Post about the divisiveness and polarization that have marked this election are justified. The campaign serves to tell us two important things about the state of Indonesian politics and society. One is that the country’s political elites are willing to display deep cynicism and extreme recklessness in order to achieve short-term political gain. The other is that mounting intolerance, above all toward non-Muslims, threatens the fiber of Indonesian life. This intolerance is inimical to good government in a country as diverse and complex as Indonesia. It embodies the worst tendencies in a society that has many positive tendencies. These two developments feed directly off each other, and they have left many Indonesians and many observers of Indonesia very worried about the country’s future.


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