On July 9, some 186 million registered voters will take to the polls in Indonesia’s third direct presidential election since the end of the autocratic regime of Suharto in 1998. Voters will decide between two presidential contenders with drastically different backgrounds and styles, but similar strategic priorities.
Representing the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, Joko Widodo is a businessman-turned-governor of Jakarta who is often portrayed as a humble man of the people. In contrast, Prabowo Subianto, a former general representing the Greater Indonesia Movement Party, has carved out a reputation as a strong and decisive leader.
Expectations are high that the upcoming election will catalyze much-needed reform, and that Indonesia’s future leader will take advantage of an opportunity to set the country on a better path. But steering the populous, resource-rich, archipelago country away from what economists flag as the “middle-income trap” will be no easy job.
What are the main challenges that await the presidential victor and how does each candidate plan to address them? Devex provides some perspective and answers.