ISG Roadshow on Jakarta gubernatorial elections with Marcus Mietzner and Ian Wilson

The ANU Indonesia Project together with the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University held its first Indonesia Study Group (ISG) Roadshow on 27 April 2017.

The ISG seminar, delivered by Marcus Mietzner (ANU) and Ian Wilson (Murdoch University), was about the Jakarta gubernatorial elections, and the outcomes and implications. It was chaired by Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

April 19th saw the second round of Jakarta’s hotly contested Gubernatorial elections. The incumbent, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama fought his campaign from the courthouse while facing blasphemy charges, while his challenger, Anies Baswedan, gained momentum on the back of sustained campaigns by Islamists against Ahok.

The final round of the election not only gripped the capital with its spectacular political theatrics, but was talked about as a meter for the quality of Indonesia’s democracy.

Was the election, as many have speculated, a test of religious and ethnic tolerance, or were local issues, such as Jakarta’s perennial flooding and infrastructure woes, central to voters? What is the winner’s agenda for Jakarta, and after such a bitterly contested election, what challenges is he likely to face in governing the city? Finally, what does Jakarta’s election result tell us about the emerging political coalitions gearing up for the 2019 presidency?

In this discussion, the speakers drew on their unprecedented access and on-the-ground work during the campaign to discuss the results of an election that has potentially changed the way Indonesian democracy is framed and understood.

This event was unique as it was an interactive seminar between the two research centres. The audience at ANU watched the panelists live via Skype and participated in the discussion by raising several questions during the question and answer session. Sarah Dong, George Quinn and Budy Resosudarmo from ANU all posed questions to the panel.

An approximate total of 60 people attended the seminars at both ends, with approximately 40 participating at Murdoch University and the rest at ANU.

The event went smoothly without any major glitches. As a new model for an interactive seminar for the Indonesia Project, we would like to replicate this concept in future ISG seminars, where remote participants are not only able to watch the seminar live, but are also able to participate in the discussion.