Photo by Indrianto Eko Suwarso for Antara.


The December 2020 elections for mayors and governors marked the beginning of Indonesia’s fourth wave of direct local elections. Mayors and governors have been directly elected by popular vote since 2005, replacing a previous system of indirect election by local legislatures that was widely perceived as corrupt. Although provisions for independent candidates have been in place since 2008, most candidates are still nominated by coalitions of political parties.

What are the keys to winning these local elections? Do the party coalitions that candidates form shape their chances of winning, or the way that they govern afterwards? Have the ways in which local leaders won office shaped their response to the Covid-19 pandemic? And are changes now needed to the electoral system to improve the functioning of these elections and local governance?

In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Dr Adrianus Hendrawan, a recent PhD graduate from the Australian National University who is researching women’s representation in local legislatures. In addition to his PhD research, Adrianus has co-authored a range of articles on local elections and local governance with several other colleagues: on ‘Parties as pay-off seekers’; on ‘Incumbency advantage and the performance of second term mayors’; and on ‘The impact of majority coalitions’.

In 2021, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.

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