The two-week gap between the July 9 Indonesian election and today’s announcement of final results could have been a tense showdown between the two candidates, one a political neophyte, the other a stalwart of the Suharto-era military, who contested Indonesia’s closest-ever direct presidential election.
As it turns out, what could have been a constitutional crisis in Indonesia was an example of orderly democratic transition.
Joko Widodo (known as ‘Jokowi’), governor of Jakarta since late 2012, has won the Indonesian presidency with 53.15% of the vote. His rival, former general Prabowo Subianto, won just 46.85%. The gap of more than 6% is actually larger than many ‘quick counts’ reported in the vote’s aftermath.
Prabowo (pictured above, left, meeting with Jokowi last week), who refused to concede defeat, despite signs of a narrow Jokowi win, worked with Jokowi and outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (known by his initials, ‘SBY’) to keep tensions relatively low, and Prabowo’s campaign staff over the weekend all but conceded the Indonesian presidency to Jokowi. Prabowo’s team, which had indicated it might file a lawsuit to contest alleged fraud, has now said it won’t file a case in Indonesia’s constitutional court.
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That’s worth a sigh of relief, given the nationalist themes that Prabowo struck in his presidential campaign. At one point, the former Suharto son-in-law, whose human rights record in the Indonesian special forces came under significant scrutiny during the election, argued that democracy wasn’t right for Indonesia and that he might return to the country’s more authoritarian 1945 constitution.
Jokowi’s victory, above all, cements the foundations of Indonesian democracy.
So what happens next?
Jokowi will be inaugurated no later than October 20. In the meanwhile, expect a significant amount of churn within Indonesia’s politics. Continue reading It’s official: Jokowi wins Indonesian presidential election