On July 14, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) hosted a GGR Talk Session titled “Understanding Indonesia’s Democratic Recession” featuring Professor Jun Honna (Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University).
Since achieving democratization in 1998, Indonesia has been highly regarded by the international community as a “stable democratic nation” or a “leader of the Global South.” However, Professor Honna pointed out that Indonesia’s democracy has been regressing since the inauguration of President Joko Widodo’s administration in 2014, and he explained the underlying reasons by looking into the process of Widodo consolidating power. As examples of power consolidation, Professor Honna highlighted four points: 1) Widodo expanded the coalition government to avoid the constraints of existing political elites, thereby rendering the opposition powerless; 2) there is pressure on major media outlets to suppress critical reporting on the government; 3) the incorporation of the leader of Indonesia’s largest Islamic social organization into the government; and 4) the appointment of loyalists to key positions within security agencies. It was noted that the Widodo administration, through these actions, has been dissolving opposition forces, exerting pressure on civil society movements, and attacking the checks and balances that underpin democracy, thereby squeezing the democratic political space in Indonesia.
During the Q&A session, questions were raised about the reasons behind the Widodo administration’s success in absorbing the opposition, the role of political parties in presidential elections, and prospects for the 2024 presidential election. Professor Honna emphasized that although there may be some competition between political parties in the 2024 presidential election, there is a high likelihood of a scenario where the ruling and opposition parties form a coalition after the election.
【Event report prepared by】
Tomohito NAKANO (Master’s student, School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University)