Indonesia Conducts Massive Single-Phase Polls

On February 15 2024, Indonesia organized simultaneous regional direct elections across 171 cities and districts to elect hundreds of local leaders in what is considered the single largest polling exercise globally.
Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy with around 205 million voters eligible to cast ballots. Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, an ex-general linked to past human rights atrocities, claimed victory in Indonesia’s presidential election based on unofficial tallies.
The 72-year-old candidate was once banned by the United States from entering for two decades due to his human rights record.

Election Significance

5th Simultaneous Regional Polls

It represented the fifth edition of synchronized nationwide regional elections since being introduced in 2015 for selecting provincial governors, district heads and city mayors on the same day through direct voting.

Boosts Grassroots Democracy

This system of simultaneous regional elections strengthens localized democracy by enabling efficient and transparent choice of local executives who manage key governance issues impacting citizens like infrastructure, health and public services.

Builds National Political Processes

The streamlined approach helps consolidate Indonesia’s democracy from ground by systematically nurturing local leadership hierarchies which form crucial building blocks for national politics.

Initial Lead Projections

Quick Count Methodology

As per latest quick count findings aggregated from India pollster agencies capturing early sample ballot data, former military general Prabowo Subianto was leading ininitial projections.

Subianto’s Grassroots Appeal

While yet to win any provincial polls unlike President Joko Widodo, Subianto enjoyed notable popularity at district levels given his brand of welfare politics prioritizing farmer interests and small businesses in rural areas.

According to early, unofficial tallies conducted by Indonesian polling agencies, Subianto had between 57 per cent and 59 per cent of votes, with more than 80 per cent of the vote counted in polling places sampled.

Poor Show by Ruling Coalition

Meanwhile, parties aligned to Widodo’s ruling coalition trailed with lacklustre performances across regions compared to 2019 elections, facing growing anti-incumbency.

Democratic Maturation

Peaceful Conduct

Barring minor scuffles between enthusiastic supporters in few constituencies, elections were by and large peaceful affirming Indonesia’s democratic resilience despite massive logistical complexities.

Embracing Reformed Electoral Laws

Strict adherence to reformed electoral laws like campaign spending limits, advertising restrictions and voting access expansions made the transparent process a global democratic best practice success.

Parliamentary Elections Next

The simultaneous regional elections set stage for the all important 2024 parliamentary and presidential polls. As political parties gauge grassroot level popularity, they provide inputs for evolving national campaign strategies.

 


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