Indonesian citizens will vote Wednesday in an election that will include a choice between the incumbent President Joko Widodo and Prabawo Subianto – a former general who has courted hard line Islamists in the course of his fourth campaign for the Indonesian presidency.
Tom Pepinsky, professor of government at Cornell University and an expert in South East Asian politics, co-wrote the book "Piety and Public Opinion: Understanding Indonesian Islam". He says the election is an important opportunity for citizens of the fourth most populous democracy to exercise political power.
"On Wednesday, Indonesia will have elections for its president, legislature, and hundreds of regional governments. The elections are not only a referendum on the first term of President Joko Widodo, they are also an opportunity for hundreds of millions of citizens in the world's fourth most populous democracy to participate in politics.
"Amidst increasing concerns that Indonesian politics is driven by Islam and that the current government has clamped down on freedom of expression by its critics, the elections are a reminder that Indonesians still have a direct say in the future of their country's political system."