Rematch: Islamic politics, mobilisation, and the Indonesian presidential election

Dimitar Gueorguiev, Kai Ostwald, Paul Schuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Indonesia’s 2019 presidential election brings a rematch between incumbent Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, though against a backdrop of increasingly active conservative Islamic movements. Analyses of this contest–as well as of contemporary Indonesian politics more generally–are often based on assumptions around which constituencies matter and which political factions they support. This paper examines those assumptions using an original dataset of fine-grained returns and census data, including a latent variable to capture the independent effect of Islamic conservatism. We find that conservative Muslim areas overwhelmingly supported Prabowo in 2014, but turned out in relatively low numbers. By contrast, rural poor areas turned out heavily for Widodo. This suggests that the conservative vote was under-mobilised and has a greater electoral potential than previously demonstrated. Given the recent mobilisation by conservative segments in society, observers should be prepared for significant shifts in the Indonesian electorate in 2019 and beyond.Abbreviations: NU: Nahdlatul Ulama; FPI: Islamic Defenders Front.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-252
Number of pages13
JournalPolitical Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2018


  • Indonesia
  • Islam
  • democracy
  • election
  • turnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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