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Jakarta Post

The Jokowi factor and the future of Indonesia’s democracy

  • Aboeprijadi Santoso

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 8 2012   /  10:36 am

“It’s Jokowi, stupid, not Prabowo!” one friend replied, paraphrasing Bill Clinton’s famous slogan, to a colleague who had argued that it was the Prabowo factor — the supposedly leading candidate for the 2014 presidential elections — that pushed Joko “Jokowi” Widodo toward a surprising victory in the first round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election
last July.

So, did Jokowi win because of Prabowo, or has Prabowo’s star risen thanks to Jokowi? The issue is important for 2014. The Jokowi-Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama ticket not only demonstrated its strength (43 percent) — much to the surprise of pollsters — it may have significant impact at a national level.

A few things need to be noted. First, the great surprise at Jokowi’s victory suggests we have forgotten that Indonesia has demonstrated the potential for the emergence of charismatic, tale...