Is There A New Strongman Leading The World’s Largest Muslim-Majority Nation?

February 29, 2024

RFI’s Paul Marshall argued recently in Religion Unplugged that “The Feb. 14 election of Indonesia’s current Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto as the country’s president should raise concern in the U.S., both because of who he is and also the chicanery surrounding his campaign.” Marshall continues:

Official results will still take some weeks to appear, and there are allegations of election fraud. However, based on the agreement of pre-election polling (and usually reliable vote sampling by a range of reputable organizations), the former general received over 58% of the vote in a three-way race, which means he won’t have to face a runoff.He has already been congratulated by the governments of China, the U.K., Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and many others, although the U.S. has not yet done so.

Subianto is the son-in-law of the last Indonesian dictator, Suharto, and his marriage to Suharto’s daughter gave him entrance into Indonesia’s elite. He graduated from the Indonesian Military Academy and spent most of his later career leading the elite Special Forces (Kopassus). He was accused thereby of human rights violations in repressing the movement for independence in East Timor, which claimed hundreds of lives, but his exact role has never been proven.

During Suharto’s final years in power, Subianto was the commander directly responsible for carrying out the ruler’s heavy-handed repression of democracy demonstrations and activists. He was accused of being involved in kidnapping 20 student activists — 13 of whom have never been found.

Read the full article: “Is There A New Strongman Leading The World’s Largest Muslim-Majority Nation?