Southeast Asia’s Princelings

From Indonesia to Cambodia and beyond, the children of politicians are keeping the family business going – for better or for worse.

The latest political princeling set to break through the ranks in Southeast Asia is Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the 32-year-old son of Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. He became the sole candidate for Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in this year’s mayoral election in Surakarta, the historic royal capital on Java, after other candidates pulled out of the race last week.

Jokowi also served as Surakarta’s mayor before going onto become the governor of Jakarta and then Indonesia’s president – a route his son may now be tracing. The analyst Aaron Connelly tweeted that this sets up “the possibility of a dynasty there.”

Yet another dynasty for Southeast Asia. In Myanmar, the civilian government is led by the now-tainted democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, whose government not only defended and lied about genocide but also engaged in its own macabre censorship and crackdown on free speech. Suu Kyi, as she never tires of reminding people, is the daughter of Burma’s “founding father,” Aung San.

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