(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.
The largest Muslim population in the world and the fourth most populous nation overall. The biggest archipelago. The third-biggest democracy. A trillion dollar economy.
For a country so massive, Indonesia tends to fly under the radar partly because, with a bloody history from colonialism to dictatorship, it has focused on issues at home across its 17,000-plus islands. It has tended to adopt a low-key foreign policy. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
A major commodity producer that sits astride both the strategic South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, Indonesia’s economic and political stability has ramifications for Asia and beyond. While it has largely avoided significant religious strife in recent decades, there are pressures from harder-line Islamic groups to make the country less secular. Growth is short of targets. And nationalism is on the rise, leading to protectionist policies for local industries.
Today’s presidential election sees Joko Widodo again face off with former general Prabowo Subianto, who served under late dictator Suharto. This time, though, Widodo is not the political outsider – he’s president and campaigning on a record that’s a bit mixed when it comes to jobs and economic reform.
The count from unofficial tallies has Widodo – known popularly as Jokowi – leading. The challenge if he secures a second term is to better translate Indonesia’s potential into action. That would have an effect well beyond its borders.
How do I keep up with the Indonesian election?
1) Click here for our real-time blog 2) Follow our team on Twitter: Karlis Salna, Arys Aditya and Thomas Kutty Abraham 3) Read this explainer on the key economic challenges for whoever wins
2020 defense | Twenty-two House districts represented by freshman Democrats that Trump won in 2016 are emerging as key battlegrounds for both parties, as Republicans seek to regain ground in a presidential election year and Democrats try to extend the majority they won in 2018. Bloomberg Government takes a closer look at those hotly contested seats and the early fund-raising haul Democrats are amassing there. Click here for more on how next year's key Senate races are shaping up.
Separatist backlash | Spain’s third elections in four years are the next test for how much the politics of disruption have gained a foothold in Europe. Debate is raging around national unity after Catalan separatists tried to break away in 2017. Opinion polls show Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists, who favor dialogue, in the lead before the April 28 vote, but the new nationalist Vox party is gaining support with a tough stance against division.
Trudeau challenged | Alberta became the third major Canadian province over the past year to elect a conservative-leaning government. The trend threatens to check Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party agenda as he prepares to face the electorate later this year, trailing in the polls. New rivals are pushing back on everything from the prime minister’s introduction of a nationwide carbon pricing regime to his support of immigration, globalization and a more assertive role for the federal government.
Bernie or bust | The fierce loyalty Bernie Sanders inspires in his supporters is creating a dilemma for the Democratic Party. As Sahil Kapur reports, a sliver of the self-proclaimed socialist's base isn't sure they’ll back the Democratic nominee in 2020 if Sanders isn’t on the ballot. If they opt to stay home instead, that could give Trump an edge in a tight election.Read more:
From Finance to Hollywood, Donors Give to Trump Challengers Trump's Betting His Re-election on the Fed and Fear of Immigrants
City of spies | Geopolitical crises tend to create unexpected centers of refuge and espionage: West Berlin in the Cold War, Amman, Jordan in the buildup to the conflict in Iraq. Now a shift in the world’s attention to Venezuela — which has seen the departure of U.S. diplomats and an influx of Russian military advisers — has made neighboring Colombia's capital, Bogota, a proxy battleground thronged with mercenaries, agents and clandestine operations.
What to Watch:
Neither chamber is likely to muster the votes to override Trump's veto yesterday of a bipartisan measure Congress passed earlier this month demanding he withdraw U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Trump may be giving Beijing a new cudgel to use on American companies and striking another blow to the international rule of law, Shawn Donnan and Jenny Leonard report. Egyptians will vote in a national referendum next month on an amendment to the constitution passed yesterday by lawmakers that would extend the presidential term to six years from four — and potentially allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to remain in office until 2030.
And finally … Foxconn founder Terry Gou entered Taiwan's presidential race with a flourish, saying he had been encouraged to run by the Chinese sea goddess Mazu. The billionaire's bid poses a challenge to incumbent Tsai Ing-wen, as a contest that stands to determine whether the island moves closer to China heats up. Guo, who will run with the opposition Kuomintang party, cited divine intervention there, too — saying the goddess told him to "come forward" and support peace across the Taiwan Strait.
--With assistance from Kathleen Hunter and Charles Penty.
To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Winfrey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Caroline Alexander
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.