Authority or Authoritarian? The Democratic Threats behind Indonesia’s New Capital City

Rendy Pahrun Wadipalapa, Poltak Partogi Nainggolan, Riris Katharina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relocation of Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to Nusantara Capital City in East Kalimantan will have significant implications for democratic rights and governance. However, this issue has been overlooked in most studies. Using interviews with politicians, bureaucrats and analysts, as well as focus group discussions and field observations, this article highlights various concerns surrounding the legal and administrative process of creating a new capital, including the rapid drafting of the relocation legislation, public opposition to the Nusantara Capital City Authority, the absence of local representation and the centralization of decision-making. All of this, the article contends, poses a threat to democracy in Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-543
Number of pages24
JournalContemporary Southeast Asia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • democratic rights
  • Indonesia
  • new capital city
  • Nusantara
  • Otorita


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