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The Results Are In
Reformer Wins Indonesian Election

The results are in from Indonesia’s Presidential election: Joko Widodo, the reformer who started life as a humble furniture maker before winning popularity for his honesty and success as a local politician, has won. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Indonesia’s vote count in the Southeast Asian country’s July 9 presidential election showed Jakarta governor Joko Widodo winning more than 53% of the vote, with the official declaration of his victory expected later Tuesday evening.

Local media said tabulations by the national elections commission after days of collating more than 133 million ballots in the archipelago nation showed Mr. Widodo had 53.15% of the vote, edging out edged former army general Prabowo Subianto who had 46.85% of the vote, a margin of about 8.5 million votes. Voter turnout was almost 70%.

As Catriona Croft-Cusworth pointed out on this site yesterday, “Jokowi”, as the Jakarta governor is universally known, was the reformist candidate in this election and is widely hailed in the West as Indonesia’s best hope going forward.

But all is not well. Jokowi’s opponent, Prabowo Subianto, an erstwhile general with ties to Indonesia’s dictatorial past, declared in advance of the results that he was withdrawing his candidacy, according to CNN:

In a speech aired live, Prabowo cited “massive, structural and systematic cheating during the 2014 election,” and said, “We will exercise our constitutional right to reject the presidential election and declare it unconstitutional. […]

There had been indications that a challenge was likely to be launched from Prabowo, but his allegations are unprecedented, said Douglas Ramage, an analyst from Bower’s Asia Group, based in Jakarta.

“This is the first time anyone has questioned the legitimacy of the democratic process itself,”he said. “Since 1999, no participant in the process has asserted that the process itself has been illegitimate.

“We’re in uncharted territory here.”

While elections in Indonesia are never perfect, allegations of corruption did not appear to be overwhelming, and were more frequently leveled at Subianto than his opponent. However, the official results may not put an end to the matter; Subianto has until Friday to make his case to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    For the fourth most populous nation, the third largest democracy and the biggest Muslim-majority nation, this election outcome appears to be promising.

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