In Wednesday’s general elections in Indonesia, nearly 10,000 candidates are competing to become one of 580 lawmakers in the national parliament. The candidates represent 18 political parties across 38 provinces, with a notable presence of candidates of Chinese descent.
Under the rule of Soeharto, Chinese Indonesians were subjected to discriminatory policies and restricted from political rights. However, since the political reforms following his resignation, opportunities for ethnic Chinese to participate in politics have improved.
Former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, is one of the prominent Chinese Indonesians who entered politics. Despite progress in representation, the current system of proportional representation could disadvantage some candidates who now have to campaign directly for seats.
Fuidy Luckman, a candidate for the National Awakening Party (PKB), encourages Chinese Indonesians to participate in politics. Mery Sutedjo, who joined the Labour Party, aims to advocate for social welfare and law enforcement for the working class. Redi Nusantara, a candidate for the Perindo Party, wants to attract more foreign investments into Indonesia and promote domestic manufacturing.
Overall, more Chinese Indonesians are participating in politics, hoping to bring positive changes and break stereotypes about their community.