Anthony Furci, Jakarta – Indonesia's ranking in the 2017 Democracy Index, published on Wednesday (31/01) dropped 20 places to 68th, thanks to the highly divisive Jakarta gubernatorial election, the annual index's publisher, the Economist Intelligence Units, or EIU, said on Wednesday (31/01).
Last year, Anies Baswedan, who is now Jakarta governor, defeated former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – now imprisoned for blasphemy against Islam – in an election marred by religious divisions.
Last year's gubernatorial race saw Anies's supporters play religion and race cards – Ahok is an ethnic Chinese and a Christian – to win the election.
"Democracy in Indonesia suffered a setback following the [gubernatorial] poll in Jakarta," the report said.
A key focus of this year's report was press freedom, and the global challenges surrounding freedom of speech.
Asia's biggest emerging democracy, India, also suffered a significant drop in the index – from 32nd to 42nd. The Philippines ranked 51st and Malaysia 59th.
Overall, Asia was the worst-performing region last year, with North Korea remaining bottom of the list.
"It was a year of democratic backsliding for Asia," the EIU's director for Asia Duncan Innes-Ker said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.