Thursday Briefing: Indonesia’s New Leader

Prabowo Subianto greeted supporters in Jakarta yesterday. Credit…Oscar Siagian/Getty Images

A feared ex-general looks set to be Indonesia’s new leader

Prabowo Subianto was ejected from the military in the late 1990s for his involvement in the torture and abduction of pro-democracy activists. Now, he is projected to win Indonesia’s presidency.

The outcome of the election casts doubt on the future of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. Prabowo has said that Indonesia needs neither elections nor democracy. He was barred from entering the U.S. for two decades because of his human rights record, and he has been associated with the country’s former dictator, Suharto.

Critics say that the era of liberty that followed the ouster of Suharto could now be under threat.

Details: Unofficial tallies showed that Prabowo, the country’s defense minister, had a commanding lead in the three-way race for president, with more than 58 percentof the vote.

Analysis: What finally pushed him toward victory was the implicit support of the popular outgoing president, Joko Widodo, whose son is Prabowo’s running mate.

Climate: Prabowo supports policies that have led to a boom in coal-burning, but also to the creation of an electric-battery industry. His approach to managing natural resources could have a significant effect on the global fight against climate change.

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