President Jokowi is the man to watch in Indonesia


I am an Indonesia watcher. Why? Because by 2050, it is going to be world’s largest Muslim economy, ahead of the UK, Germany and France, today’s dominant European economies.

In a Pakistan Vision 2025 Planning inaugural meeting last August, of which I had been part, I contested Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal’s view when he presented Malaysia as a benchmark. I said: we need to be looking towards Indonesia, which has similar problems like us: huge population, corruption, under-development, future aspirations.

I visited Indonesia in July 2005 to read a paper on ‘Madrassahs and international militancy’ at an international conference at the invitation of German foundation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). The conference was organised in Solo, short for Surakarta, a small town in Central Java, with half a million population.

Solo is from where the current President Jokowi has emerged.

Just like my prediction that Pakistan will see enormous development in next 10 years, I have great regard for Indonesia and optimism that it will leave many critics stunned. Like Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif, Jokowi is Indonesia’s name to watch!

You will see many posts on this blog about Indonesia from our alumni and friends who have worked with both presidential candidates and have an insider-view of things on the ground. Stay tuned!

Here’s today’s story about election results from BBC.

See also by BBC: What does Jokowi win mean for Indonesia?

The Economist: A new kind of president

Foreign Policy: Can Indonesia’s newly elected, rags-to-riches president be a real reformer?

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has been declared the winner of Indonesia’s hotly contested presidential election.

The election commission said Mr Widodo – widely known as Jokowi – won 53.15% of the vote with his rival, ex-general Prabowo Subianto, on 46.85%.

Earlier, Mr Subianto alleged widespread electoral fraud and vowed to challenge the result.

Mr Widodo has promised a decisive break with Indonesia’s authoritarian past and better social welfare for the poor.

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Joko Widodo: Key facts

  • Born in 1961 in city of Solo, the son of a wood-seller
  • Began political career with the PDI-P party when he was elected mayor of Solo in 2005
  • Elected for second term in 2010 with more than 90% of the vote
  • Elected governor of Jakarta in 2012
  • Backer of technology who promises to implement “e-governance” to help cut bureaucratic corruption
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Who is Joko Widodo?

Before the official results were confirmed, the chairperson of Mr Widodo’s PDI-P party, Megawati Sukarnoputri, claimed victory on behalf of the candidate and his running-mate Jusuf Kalla.

“I want to declare that we, the party that supports and puts forward Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla, has won,” she told reporters on Tuesday evening.

Indonesia’s politics has traditionally been dominated by establishment figures from the political elite and military.

A former furniture-maker who grew up in a small village, Mr Jokowi is seen as a clean politician in touch with the masses. The Jakarta governor has proved to be particularly popular with urban and rural youth.

His rival Mr Subianto is a former general closely associated with the traditional elite. He had the backing of media tycoons.

A former son-in-law of Indonesia’s ex-leader Suharto, Mr Subianto has faced multiple questions over alleged human rights abuses.

Mr Subianto said earlier on Tuesday that his camp would not resort to violence as it challenges the results.

About 130 million votes were cast on 9 July following an intense election campaign.

It was followed by a controversial vote-counting period in which both candidates raised concerns about voting irregularities.

But Mr Widodo’s winning margin of 6% win is seen as decisive by analysts.

They say that even if Mr Subianto’s claim of electoral fraud in certain areas proved to be true, this would be unlikely to change the overall results.

Mr Subianto has three days to file an appeal with Indonesia’s constitutional court. The court has till 22 August to make a ruling on the results.


See also:

Indonesia: warning signs the growth story may be losing steam

How future oriented are we?


  1. If we allow democracy to prevail, these countries can make wonders. I don’t understand why west is shy of democracy in Muslim world. They feel more comfortable with dictators only. For muslim countries with weak army, they prefer monarchy as an interim arrangement. The moment, they built strong army, monarchy will be overthrown and dictatorship will be promoted. We have examples of Iran and Egypt. In Iran the script went bad for west and instead of bringing army they ended with Khomeni.

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