Indonesian voters will head to the polls on February 14 to elect a new president, vice president, parliament, and local legislative bodies.

Significance: This election marks the first change of leadership in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, in a decade.

Scale: Over 204 million out of the country’s 270 million population have registered to vote, making it a massive undertaking across the archipelago of over 17,000 islands spread across three time zones.

Demographics: The majority of registered voters, approximately 55%, are aged between 17 and 40, highlighting the significant participation of young people in the electoral process.

Presidential Candidates:

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Candidates: Three contenders are competing for the presidency: Ganjar Pranowo, Anies Baswedan, and Prabowo Subianto, the current defense minister.

Background: Subianto, a former army special forces commander, is making his third bid for the presidency, with his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the son of the popular incumbent president.

Other Candidates: Pranowo, backed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has announced Mahfud Md as his running mate, while Baswedan’s running mate is Muhaimin Iskandar, leader of the Islamic National Awakening Party (PKB).

Key Issues:

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Economic Growth: All candidates have pledged to continue Jokowi’s initiatives for inclusive growth, welfare, and economic expansion.

Job Creation: Ambitious targets for job creation and economic expansion have been set, though specifics on achieving these goals remain unclear.

Infrastructure: Plans include continuing infrastructure projects such as the construction of a new capital city with an estimated cost of $32 billion.

Voting Process and Expectations:

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Eligibility: Indonesian citizens aged 17 and above can vote in the elections.

Democratic Transition: Since embracing democracy in 1998, Indonesia has upheld the principles of equality and national unity, with elections held regularly.

Religious and Political Landscape: Despite being a secular state, religion often plays a role in campaign tactics, with parties employing religious appeals.

Voting Mechanism: Presidential candidates must secure 50% of the overall vote and at least 20% in each province to win, while political parties need 4% of the vote to enter parliament.

Results Timeline: Preliminary results are expected on the evening of February 14, with the final outcome announced within 35 days. A second round may occur if no candidate receives over 50% of the votes.

Challenges and Concerns:

Inclusivity: Various groups, including LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, indigenous communities, and religious minorities, face challenges in exercising their voting rights.

Discrimination Instances: Instances of discrimination against LGBTQ voters have been reported, with concerns raised over the accessibility of voting for people with disabilities.

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