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Jokowi confirmed as Indonesian election winner, Prabowo rejects result: experts respond

Joko Widodo has won Indonesia’s presidential election. AAP Image/Eka Nickmatulhuda

Jokowi confirmed as Indonesian election winner, Prabowo rejects result: experts respond

Joko Widodo has won Indonesia’s presidential election, the Indonesian Election Commission’s (KPU) final tally shows.

But his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, refused to admit defeat. Prabowo told a press conference he challenged the July 9 election process and would withdraw his participation from the election process.

The Jakarta governor universally known as Jokowi won 53.15% of votes to Prabowo’s 46.85%. The KPU’s official result is in line with early sampling results released by several pollsters on election day, July 9.

Expert responses follow.

Questions over legitimacy

Yohanes Sulaiman, Lecturer in International Relations and Political Science at Indonesian Defence University

As expected, the Election Commission declared Joko Widodo the winner of the presidential race. And also as expected, Prabowo Subianto is not admitting defeat.

What was not expected was Prabowo withdrawing from the whole vote-counting process. Prabowo said that the election was undemocratic and flawed. He also accused the Election Commission of being unfair and not transparent. His party chairman, Fadli Zon, has said, however, that they would not request a review by the Constitutional Court.

It seems that Prabowo’s withdrawal from the process is an attempt to delegitimise Jokowi’s win in this year’s election. But this is not going to work. Nobody is going to use Prabowo’s withdrawal from the process to delegitimise Jokowi’s presidency.

The only explanation I can think of why Prabowo decided against the Constitutional Court path is his running mate, Hatta Rajasa, had possibly refused to take the legal channel and wanted to concede. There have been signs that Hatta accepted the Election Commission result and admitted defeat by Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla. I believe that by law the pair has to challenge it, not just one of them.

Indonesians believe in democracy

Djayadi Hanan, Lecturer in Political Science at Paramadina University

Prabowo Subianto’s withdrawal from the vote-counting process will not affect the validity of the Election Commission’s final result. Prabowo can challenge the decision by filing the appeal to the Indonesian Constitutional Court (MK). The MK then will decide and make a ruling whether Prabowo’s claims can stand or not. After that, the MK can make a ruling that the election is properly done.

If the MK finds that there is a significant problem in the election, it can order the election to be re-run, partially or entirely. If that’s the case, we will still have to wait until the final process is done. Otherwise, the next step will be the inauguration of the president-elect [on October 20].

Prabowo has called for his supporters to stay calm. But I’m not really sure whether his request or order to his supporters is sincere or not. He has been showing that he is willing to do anything to “win” this election. So anything can happen.

But I believe that [outgoing president] Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government will not let bad things happen. I believe the police and the military are ready to deal with the worst situation.

Despite a possible delay due to Prabowo’s challenge, Indonesia’s presidential election has been comparable, if not better, to other established democracies. All conflicts because of the difference in political choice have been able to be resolved through democratic and peaceful means.

The key to this is the belief among most Indonesians that democracy is the best way, compared to others, to manage the Indonesian political system and life. Other countries can learn how Indonesia can survive its democracy despite the fact that Indonesian democracy is still in the process of transition.

Victory of civic political participation

Tobias Basuki, Researcher at the Department of Politics and International Relations at Centre for Strategic and International Studies

Prabowo Subianto so far has refused to concede defeat. This does not undermine that Jokowi is the clear winner.

Despite a close margin, Jokowi won more than two-thirds of all of Indonesia’s provinces, showing a nationwide support. His victory was an important hallmark of the state of Indonesia’s democracy. It had been one of Indonesia’s most contentious and loaded political contests.

The two presidential candidates have similar policy platforms. But they represent two disparate definitions of democracy in terms of ideas and the characteristic of leadership each will bring.

The election was a critical juncture for Indonesians. Voters have decided to move forward with the country’s democratic reforms. The majority refused to retract the hard-fought gains for a “New Order nostalgia”. They also refused to let primordial issues define our political choices and rather chose to transcend identity politics.

This is a a victory of organic, civic, political participation over the political machine. Indonesians have voted to move forward with our democracy, choosing an “untypical”, grounded figure as our next president.

The challenges ahead certainly loom on the wide horizon, but we can be sure it is a new era – an era where commoners, regular citizens and civil society have an important stake in building the nation. Politics may no longer be the monopoly of “blue-blooded political elites”. It may be a time of democracy from the ground up.

Public calm as election results come out

Amalinda Savirani, Lecturer at the Department of Politics and Government at Gadjah Mada University

Today, the Indonesia Election Commission final tally showed Joko Widodo as the winner of the presidential race. The public seems to be calm in this final stage of election, which is quite a contrast compared to the election campaign and counting process. The situation in general is peaceful, despite rumours that have circulated on possibly high tension in the capital.

People from all walks of life have always been major supporters of Indonesian democracy. At this 2014 presidential election, Indonesians witness themselves how genuine their participation is, and how the strength of volunteerism is a power that they still have. They argued, they fought, but they reconciled.

The presidential election is only a phase of the five-year cycle of democracy. What matters is life after the election. It [the term of office] spans five years, much longer than five minutes in the ballot box. This is when the the business of governance takes place.

It is now the moment for the people to make sure their new leaders keep their campaign promises, and when the betterment for the people can be (or not) experienced.

Prospects for Jokowi’s first 100 days

Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Director of Centre for the Study of Religion and Democracy and Lecturer at Paramadina University

To a mother who asked what he would do on the first 100 days of his leadership as Indonesia’s seventh president, Jokowi said he would release two presidential regulations: first, on corruption eradication; and second, on expedition of business permit licensing.

I do not doubt that he will carry out his promises told in front of the public and recorded by a national TV station. Both are in line with his main campaign issues, which emphasised bureaucratic efficiency and effectiveness. Jokowi has promised that he will strengthen the Corruption Eradication Commission and increase its budget. In the presidential debates he has mentioned that he would expedite business licensing by using IT technology.

We should expect as well in his first 100 days for him to release a third presidential regulation on religious discrimination. Jokowi did not refer to this in his answer to the mother mentioned above. But he expressed this in an advertisement in Kompas daily, a newspaper that has the largest circulation in Indonesia. In one of his presidential debates, he mentioned this as one of his accomplishments as Jakarta governor, when he defended a Christian district leader from religious radicals.

Jokowi will have to consolidate the people of Indonesia after such a polarising election. With his team, he should be busy with blusukan (his famous impromptu visits) to ensure that his policies will be supported by the political elite and the people. Everyone will demand the best from him as an administrator and consolidator.