With just a few days left before Indonesia’s national election, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is closing in on a goal he has long sought: to become the president of Southeast Asia’s largest and most populous state.

Despite his checkered military past, surveys have consistently shown Prabowo as the candidate to beat, with polls indicating that he might get over 50% of votes in the first round and avoid a runoff.

Should he win Wednesday’s three-way presidential race, analysts expect the 72-year-old, ex-special forces commander to bolster his country’s defense capabilities and try and reclaim Indonesia’s central role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), all the while balancing out relations between the United States and China and maintaining close ties with Japan.