Explainer: How do Indonesia’s elections work?

Indonesia is key to Australia’s future, and a central part of its economic and strategic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The country is not only Australia’s closest and biggest neighbour, it’s the world’s third largest democracy and set to be the fifth (or even fourth) largest economy by 2050. And Australians increasingly visit, study and work in Indonesia – in 2022 alone, more than 600,000 Australians travelled to Indonesia.

On 14 February 2024, Indonesia will hold one of the biggest one-day elections in the world. More than 204 million eligible voters will decide on Indonesia’s president and his vice, members of Indonesia’s national parliament, as well as members of the governing councils at provincial, municipal and local levels. These voters are spread across 514 regencies, more than 7000 sub-districts and almost 84,000 villages. 1,75 million members of Indonesia’s diaspora will also cast their vote.

The future trajectory of Australia’s relationship with Indonesia will be significantly shaped by the make-up of the new government. The Indonesian President has far-reaching institutional powers and is the central decision-maker in Indonesia’s foreign policy. Their priorities and preferences thus substantially shape the country’s foreign policy agenda, and Australia’s place within it.

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