ARTICLE: Gap Narrows between Candidates in Indonesian Presidential Elections by MAX LANE

After an extensive pre-campaign lobbying period to form political coalitions, the presi- dential election campaigning has been ongoing for three weeks. There have been three nationally televised debates between the two candidates (with each debate focusing on a specific topic) and a nationally televised “dialogue” between the presi- dential candidates and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN). There has been a flurry of activities as the presidential candidates and their spokespersons im- mersed themselves in campaigning; billboards and advertising are everywhere. It has become fairly clear what the division within the Indonesian elite is about. The two candidates, Joko Widodo (from PDI-P) and Prabowo Subianto (from GERINDRA), represent two quite different paths into the future (or back to the past) for Indonesia, but both emerge from within the Indonesian ruling elite. Widodo harks from the new regional elite that blossomed with Indonesia’s experiment with decen-tralization. Prabowo is very much tied to the old elite of the New Order and, while very wealthy in his own right, is also the brother of an extremely wealthy businessman. He is a former son-in-law of Suharto and the son of a former Suharto minister, who is also a wealthy businessman.1 At the moment, most polls put Widodo between 5% and 7% ahead of Prabowo, with between 20-30% still undecided. Widodo, although still ahead in the polls, appears to have lost the massive lead he had earlier in the year, when some polls had him at 70%. 


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