Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo won Indonesia’s presidential race with 53.15 percent of the vote, based on the election commission results, after a divisive election that saw his opponent withdraw today from the count.
Former Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto secured 46.85 percent of the vote, according to the General Elections Commission, which is known as the KPU. Indonesian shares and the rupiah fell earlier today after Prabowo pulled his witness team from the KPU, calling the ballot undemocratic.
Jokowi, 53, will face challenges both at home and abroad, including any legal contest from Prabowo. He will need to provide jobs and education to a growing population in Asia’s fifth-largest economy at a time when demand for its commodities such as coal and palm oil has slowed. He will also face increasingly complicated regional relations, including territorial disputes with China that are simmering on Indonesia’s doorstep in the South China Sea.
“Election victory is the people’s victory,” Jokowi said today on his Facebook page. “I appreciate all Indonesians that have enlivened the celebration of democracy. Now is the time we unite and develop peace and mutual aid to uphold the unity and integrity of Indonesia.”
Indonesians want to have a leader who can understand them... Not someone who thinks that they know and then they make policies with that kind of confidence" -- Achmad Sukarsono, associate fellow at Jakarta-based research institute The Habibie Center
Jokowi represents a move away from political dynasties. He’s a self-made businessman from a middle class family who after entering politics in his home town of Solo in central Java captured the imagination of voters nationwide with his penchant for mingling with the people. As governor of Jakarta, he built a reputation as a reformer who focuses on bread and butter issues such as health care and transport.
“It’s clear that this is a new chapter for Indonesia,” said Achmad Sukarsono, associate fellow at Jakarta-based research institute The Habibie Center. “Indonesians want to have a leader who can understand them. Their imperfections, their conditions, their demands. Not someone who thinks that they know and then they make policies with that kind of confidence.”
Prabowo, 62, has three days to contest the results in the constitutional court. A legal challenge would mean a month of uncertainty for voters and investors in the world’s third-largest democracy, where growth slowed to the weakest pace since 2009 in the first quarter.
“The process of the 2014 presidential election done by the KPU was problematic, undemocratic and against the constitution of 1945,” Prabowo told supporters in Jakarta. The KPU had not been transparent in the vote count, which caused the “loss of Indonesian citizens’ right of democracy.”
Ensuring a smooth transfer of power is crucial for Indonesia as it seeks to assure investors the nation’s most divisive presidential election won’t erode democratic and economic progress since dictator Suharto stepped down in 1998.
Prabowo has not withdrawn his candidacy, his brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo said today by mobile-phone text message. Campaign spokesman Tantowi Yahya said by phone that Prabowo was still seeking a re-vote in some polling stations.
Rupiah one-month non-deliverable forwards reversed an earlier drop to gain 0.7 percent from July 21 to 11,509 per dollar, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The iShares MSCI Indonesia ETF gained 0.4 percent to $29.57 as of 10:24 a.m. in New York, after falling as much as 1.6 percent earlier.
When a nation is divided it is not easy to put it back together" -- Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Prabowo’s camp on July 20 asked the KPU to halt the vote count, saying there was evidence of “massive” fraud to affect the outcome. His team had called on the KPU to defer the results until up to Aug. 8.
In claiming victory after the vote, both candidates called on supporters to guard against attempts to manipulate the count. Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose term ends in October, urged supporters on both sides to remain calm following the vote.
In a July 20 speech in Jakarta to officials from various parties, Yudhoyono called for a smooth result.
“When a nation is divided it is not easy to put it back together,” he said. “We will hear the calling to guard this historical process responsibly for a peaceful and democratic election,” he said.