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Jakarta Post

Congratulations, Indonesia!

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 18, 2019   /   08:34 am
Congratulations, Indonesia! Indonesians show their inked fingers after casting their vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Trumon, Southern Aceh province on April 17, 2019. (AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

In the end, there were no surprises and no one pulled off an upset win. The whole thing ended the way most people expected: Incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo won a second term and Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto was defeated in his bid for the presidency, again. And as expected, voters behaved in an admirable way by casting their decisive votes and moving on with their holiday plans.

And it is these voters that we should congratulate. Given the politically charged atmosphere during the campaign period, what they did on Wednesday was no small feat. We also owe our gratitude to the thousands of poll workers who toiled in obscurity to make sure that our votes were counted. On Wednesday, Indonesia managed to pull off the world’s most complex and largest single-day elections, involving 192 million voters, with only minor glitches and negligible fraud. With a turnout of over 80 percent, Indonesia’s first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections saw unprecedented enthusiasm from its people since the demise of the authoritarian New Order regime.

Kudos also goes to the security personnel from the National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI), who worked tirelessly to maintain security since the start of the campaign period and afterwards. We also should give thanks to the activists who scoured the darkest corners of the internet and social media to battle hoaxes and fake news, which multiplied by the thousands in the run-up to the election on Wednesday.

The General Elections Commissions (KPU) should use this year’s exercise to improve its performance in future elections. In areas like Papua and Sulawesi, the late delivery of election materials resulted in delays and in Jayapura, even Governor Lukas Enembe failed to cast his vote because a local polling station in Papua’s capital had not received materials for the simultaneous elections. The incident, however, was a minor glitch in a largely smooth and peaceful election.

Although Prabowo resisted the call to concede, or declare victory, and Jokowi urged the nation to wait for the official results from the KPU next month, unrest or security problems will unlikely occur, as voters have long accepted results from quick counts.

These quick counts in past presidential elections could be an accurate reflection of the KPU’s official tally. And based on quick count results late Wednesday, we now know that Indonesia has a new, old president. Congratulations to Jokowi for winning his second term and also to his longtime rival, Prabowo, who must, as a statesman, accept the results.

The onus is now on Jokowi to realize all his campaign promises, which include continuing his massive infrastructure project and reducing poverty as well as improving Indonesia’s economic performance amid increasing global economic and geopolitical uncertainty.

In his first term, Jokowi was heavily criticized for not doing enough to address past and contemporary human rights violations, and he must make greater efforts in his second term.

As a new generation politician, with no ties to the ancien régime, Jokowi will have to continue working to meet the demands of reformasi (Reform Era) — to maintain our civil liberties, end corruption and work together for a more prosperous and humane nation.

With this victory on Wednesday, the burden has been lifted from Jokowi’s shoulder and he should now sprint to the finish line with confidence. Now, it’s time to work, work, work.