How consuming are Indonesians

Indonesia: The defeated ex-general is suing the result of the presidential elections

In Indonesia, the authorities announced the results of the presidential elections earlier than planned: President Widodo clearly won. The loser Prabowo Subianto does not accept the defeat.

Unofficially, Indonesian President Joko Widodo's election victory has been certain for over a month, but it has been official since Tuesday: "Jokowi", as the head of state and government in Indonesia is called, is in favor of a second five-year-old with 55.5 percent of the vote Term of office has been elected. But the defeated challenger Prabowo Subianto wants to go to court as he did five years ago, although he sued in vain at the time.

The lead doubled

The 67-year-old ex-general again claims large-scale electoral fraud. Even the electoral commission had admitted that there had been occasional irregularities, which - according to the authorities - was inevitable at such a mammoth event with 190 million eligible voters and a total of 245,000 candidates. In view of the large lead of almost seven million votes, such isolated occurrences are not relevant for the final result.

Going to the constitutional court seems even more faint-hearted this time than at the last election. Compared to 2014, President Widodo has almost doubled his lead on Prabowo. At the side of the new Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, Widodo thanked the electorate on Tuesday for the increased trust and announced a more intensive fight against social inequality.

Opaque game of the hardliners

Actually, the certified final results of the ballot box on April 17th should not be made public until Wednesday. The fact that the electoral commission went public a day earlier probably also has to do with Prabowo's refusal to acknowledge his defeat. Above all, his threat to take the protest to the streets with the support of Muslim hardliners aroused concern. This tactic had already put pressure on Jakarta's then mayor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in November 2016, who paralyzed the capital for several days.

Thousands of security forces have been on alert for days in Jakarta and other larger cities for fear of demonstrations. The building of the electoral commission in the capital is secured with barbed wire, water cannons and armored cars. According to local information, security measures have also been strengthened on the tourist island of Bali and in Medan on Sumatra. In the past few days, Prabowo's supporters have been promoting so-called “Jihad Tours”, which are intended to initiate a kind of people power movement in Jakarta.

Prabowo Subianto, who was once married to a daughter of the former autocrat Suharto and is still close to this clan, probably has support in Islamist circles. In addition, his party, Gerindra, is moving up to become the second largest party in parliament with a share of 12.6 percent of the vote. Nevertheless, after two defeats, he is considered to have been used up. The successful and largely trouble-free elections on April 17th showed the maturity and stability that democracy in Indonesia has now achieved. The motives for the defiance, which ultimately has little statesmanship, remain unclear.

The vice has long since jumped off

By contrast, before his second term in office, Widodo's political position seems stronger than ever. While he had to laboriously build a coalition five years ago as a newcomer, this time he can count on a solid majority in the National Assembly. His party PDI-P achieved by far the best result with 19.3 percent. Even Sandiaga Uno, Prabowo's candidate for vice-president, seems to be slowly turning his back on his old boss. In an interview a few days ago, the 49-year-old surprisingly announced that he was quite ready to work with President Widodo. The gesture should not be entirely altruistic: Sandiaga is considered a political talent who has a good chance of becoming Jokowi's successor in five years. After two terms in office, the president himself may no longer run.