Indonesian presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (centre) and his running mate Jusuf Kalla (2nd left) celebrate with the head of his party, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri (2nd right) and her daughter Puan Maharani, ahead of the official results announcement in South Jakarta. Photo by Reuters
Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been declared the winner of
Indonesia's presidential election, bringing the promise of
major reforms to the world's third largest democracy.
The Elections Commission, known as KPU, said the Jakarta
governor had won by just over six percentage points, with
53.15 percent of the nearly 130 million votes cast on July 9.
It was the closest and most bitterly fought election in
Indonesia's history, pitting Jokowi against former general
Prabowo Subianto, whose promise of strong leadership brought
echoes of decades under autocratic rule.
"This victory is a victory for all the people of Indonesia,"
the president-elect told hundreds of supporters gathered at a
port on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, chosen to
emphasize his commitment to Indonesia's maritime potential.
He and his vice president-elect, Jusuf Kalla, arrived by
"With humility, we ask the people...to go back to a united
Indonesia," he added.
In an interview with Reuters before the result was announced,
Jokowi promised to simplify life for investors by beefing up
the country's threadbare infrastructure, unravel near
impenetrable regulations and sack ministers if they were not
up to the job.
His can-do approach, impatience with bureaucracy and
willingness to communicate directly with ordinary people has
won him a huge following in a country where close to 40
percent of the population live below or close to the poverty
When he moves into the presidential palace in October he will
be Indonesia's seventh president, its third to be elected by
direct vote and its first to be a businessman and not come
from the elite.
Tuesday's vote count nearly came unstuck after his rival
accused the KPU of failing to properly investigate
allegations of what his team said was widespread cheating.
But, unexpectedly, Prabowo decided not to challenge the
result in the Constitutional Court, his lawyer Mahendradatta
said. That could have dragged out the process for several
A former furniture businessman, Jokowi has had a meteoric
rise through Indonesia's political establishment.
Born into poverty but now governor of Jakarta, he won over
voters with a clean image and a reputation for competence in
local government, in contrast to the autocracy, corruption
and power politics that have weighed down the country for
The new president, who starts his five-year term on October
20, faces huge challenges to boost Indonesia's sagging
growth, cut an unsettlingly large current account deficit
that is weighing on the currency and meet pledges to improve
the lot of its 240 million people.
Once surging foreign investment has started to taper off,
with companies put off by the lack of infrastructure and what
are seen as increasingly nationalist laws.
Poverty among the world's biggest Muslim population is also
worsening and the budget is too tight to allow heavy
One of Jokowi's first challenges will be to cut into fuel
subsidies which distort the economy and eat up about a fifth
of the annual budget.
ALLEGATIONS OF MASS CHEATING
Though the KPU has been widely praised for the way it has
conducted the vote, the Prabowo camp has alleged mass
cheating in the ballot, enough, they say, to overturn
Confusion over Prabowo's position regarding the election
count was enough to rattle Jakarta shares, which had been
rising on expectations of a win by Jokowi who is seen as more
At one stage the main index was down two percent on worries
that the increasingly shrill dispute could spill over into
violence. Prices later recovered.
There have been no reports of major unrest since the
election. Hundreds of thousands of police and military
personnel are on heightened alert across the vast
archipelago, home to the world's biggest Muslim population.