Declining Democracy: Illiberal Trends in the Year of Elections

In 2024, an estimated 2 billion people will vote in elections across the globe.1 Nicknamed the year of elections, over 60 countries will hold a national election, with Indonesia included in their number.1 With approximately 75% of the elections judged to be at least partially free and fair, 2024 will usher in a new era of leadership, with new faces intermixed with those who have secured another term.1

However, the elections take place as democracy falters internationally. Increasing illiberal tendencies have characterised politics around the world after democracy peaked in 2012, with authoritarian features creeping into political systems.2 For many countries, the 2024 election could spell the end of democracy, or weaken it significantly. For Indonesia, the issue of democracy has been an underlying element of speculation in the lead up to February’s election. 


2023 saw democracy decline globally for the 17th consecutive year, and in Indonesia it was no different.3 Most academics now agree that Indonesia’s democracy is declining; a phenomenon that this election period’s various scandals and prominent disinformation have seemed to confirm. Rocked by allegations of attempts to establish political dynasties and the subversion of existing processes, the election is shaping up to be something of a showdown between democracy and individual agendas.4 The Prabowo-Gibran pair, alongside incumbent President Jokowi, are at the heart of the majority of these scandals, however this has not resulted in a decline in popularity.4 Indeed, uncertainty surrounding the result of the election and the practices of the candidates has clouded predictions of Indonesia’s future democratic state. With many businesses already reportedly operating on a “wait and see” basis ahead of the upcoming election, the potentialauthoritarianization of Indonesia’s political system remains a cause for concern. Should democracy continue to decline under the new President, who will formally be inaugurated in October 2024, businesses may expect some long-term ramifications. 

[1] Buchholz, Katharina, (2024), “2024: The Super Election Year,” Statista, January 19. Retrieved:

[2] Fray, Keith, (2024), “Democracy Under Threat in the ‘Year of Elections’,” Financial Times, January 17. Retrieved:

[3] FH, (2023), “New Report: Global Freedom Declines for 17th Consecutive Year, but May Be Approaching a Turning Point,” Freedom House, March 9. Retrieved:

[4] Aspinall, Edward, (2023), “Indonesia’s Election Bears the Signs of Weakening Democracy,” East Asia Forum, December 10. Retrieved:


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