In the first post in our new Policy in Focus series, Dr Ward Berenschot presents research looking at how common clientalism really is in Indonesia. A survey of more than 500 experts found that perceptions of clientalism varied considerably, and the character of local economies played an important role.

Both pairs of presidential candidates are targeting women voters, and seeking to capitalise on “the power of emak-emak“. Dr Dina Afrianty writes that while historically many women saw the term emak as empowering, its recent use by politicians is far less complimentary.

Much has changed in the political landscape since Joko “Jokowi” Widodo faced off against Prabowo Subianto in the 2014 Presidential Election. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae talks to Associate Professor Marcus Mietzner about how these changes might affect the 2019 presidential race.

The 2018 regional elections saw convincing wins for several young reform-minded local leaders. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dirk Tomsa speaks to one of these leaders, Dr Bima Arya Sugiarto, about the challenges of reform in an environment where corruption and patronage is widespread.

Religious identity politics is increasingly becoming the norm in Indonesian elections. Dr Sandra Hamid calls for more attention to be paid to the period between elections, and how growing exclusivism in the practice of Islam can have implications for future electoral contests.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has taken a bold step to prevent corruption convicts from participating in future elections. Bahruddin suggests that this approach could be augmented with a strategy to shame corrupt candidates and parties on the ballot paper.

Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun take a look at the results of the 2018 regional elections. Rather than reflecting national-level dynamics, they write, the behaviour of political parties and politicians at the local level is defined primarily by opportunism.

On 27 June, Indonesia held elections for mayors and governors in 154 districts and 17 provinces. In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae and a panel of leading political observers, Dr Charlotte Setijadi, Dr Philips Vermonte and Dr Eve Warburton, discuss the results and the broader implications for Indonesian politics.

With the 2019 elections fast approaching, Dr Teguh Dartanto presents results from a recent research paper suggesting that in the 2014 Presidential Election, voters in villages with good economic conditions were more likely to vote for Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

The recent Jakarta gubernatorial election saw the mobilisation of religious sentiment on a massive scale. Postgraduate students Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir, Lukman-nul Hakim and Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih look at the growing use of identity politics in Indonesian electoral democracy.

Anies Baswedan will be the next governor of Jakarta, following a bitterly fought campaign against Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama. Make no mistake, Professor Tim Lindsey writes, it was the mobilisation of racial and religious hatred achieved by his enemies that led to Ahok’s defeat in this election.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.