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Indonesian Defense Minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto salutes supporters after delivering a speech at the Jakarta Convention Center during a campaign rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Feb. 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

Prabowo Subianto set to win Indonesian election

Indonesians voted in the world’s biggest single-day election yesterday, where 259,000 candidates vied for 20,600 posts across the archipelago of 17,000 islands.

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Indonesia's Defence Minister and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto is gesturing to his supporters during an election campaign rally at the Gelora Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia, on Feb. 9, 2024.

Suryanto Putramudji/NurPhoto via Reuters

Will Indonesia choose a military officer-turned-cuddly grandpa for president?

Voters in the world’s third-largest democracy will go to the polls on Wednesday to choose their next president. The popular incumbent Joko Widodo, aka Jokowi, is barred from running for reelection by term limits and has thrown his support behind three-time presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, a former military officer and the current defense minister. Thanks to this support, in addition to generous campaign promises and a slick image makeover, Prabowo, 72, appears well-positioned to join the club of septuagenarian world leaders. We asked Eurasia Group expert Peter Mumford how this came about.

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Indonesia's defence minister and presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, along with his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is the eldest son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Surakarta's Mayor, greet their supporters as they arrive at the election commission headquarters for registering themselves for next year's presidential election, in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 25, 2023

Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja via REUTERS

The race in Indonesia is on

Though Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country (pop. 276 million) and its largest majority Muslim state, it’s long been recognized more for its potential than its accomplishments. But as rivalries grow among the United States, China, and India, this archipelago nation stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific is emerging as a more strategically important partner. It could also become one of the world’s 15 largest economies in the coming years.

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