Jokowi Is Indonesia's Third President to Be Elected by a Direct Vote

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo or Jokowi is Indonesia's president-elect. Photo by Denny Pohan, Copyright @Demotix (7/9/2014)

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo or Jokowi is Indonesia's president-elect. Photo by Denny Pohan, Copyright @Demotix (7/9/2014)

Indonesia's election officials have declared that Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo (Jokowi), a popular politician from the city of Solo, will be the country's seventh president after completing the vote count late Tuesday.

Widodo, who took 53.15 percent of the nearly 130 million votes cast, is the country's third president to be elected by a direct vote. 

Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, held its presidential elections on July 9. The main candidates were Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, a former military man who is praised as a strong and courageous leader by his supporters, but who has faced accusations of human rights abuses during the three-decade-long rule of authoritarian Suharto.

Some Indonesian Twitter users immediately expressed relief and approval over the finalization of the counting:

The election result will put Indonesia on par with the world's leading democratic countries.

Our new President is Jokowi. Congratulations, we believe that you will bring change to Indonesia.

But earlier today, Subianto announced that he intends to ignore the Indonesia's General Elections Committee (KPU) result. Instead, he said he will mount a legal challenge to protest the alleged fraud in the voting process. However, his running mate Hatta Rajasa has distanced himself from Subianto's decision. Twitter users responded:

Indonesia's stock market reacted negatively after Subianto made his announcement. This reflected the concern of many people about the impact on Indonesia's political stability if one of the candidates, Subianto in particular, rejected the results:

On his Twitter account, Former Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Professor Yusril Izra Mahendra wrote about what would happen if the presidential election failed:

In the presidential election law, similar to legislative election and provincial election laws, a confirmed candidate isn't allowed to resign, whatever reason he might have.

If today's president election fails, then there will be an absence of government because the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) can't extend [current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's] tenure.

The government's ‘absence’ will jeopardize the nation and state, therefore the survival of the state remains a priority.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users also acknowledged President Yudhoyono, known by his initials SBY, for his work in maintaining a peaceful democratic transition:

Thank you SBY for assistance in creating a safe and peaceful election.

Widodo will be sworn in as president on Oct. 20, 2014.


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