Indonesia has long been hailed as a rare case of democratic transition and persistence in an era of global democratic setbacks. But as the country enters its third decade of democracy, such laudatory assessments have become increasingly untenable. The stagnation that characterized Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second presidential term has given way to a more far-reaching pattern of democratic regression under his successor, Joko Widodo.
This volume is the first comprehensive study of Indonesia’s contemporary democratic decline. Its contributors identify, explain and debate the signs of regression, including arbitrary state crackdowns on freedom of speech and organization, the rise of vigilantism, deepening political polarization, populist mobilization, the dysfunction of key democratic institutions, and the erosion of checks and balances on executive power. They ask why Indonesia, until recently considered a beacon of democratic exceptionalism, increasingly conforms to the global pattern of democracy in retreat.