Indonesia: Joko Widodo should win the elections

Indonesia - Mount Bromo
Indonesia – Mount Bromo. Photo: Thomas Hirsch

In Indonesia, one of the most populous countries in the world with nearly 270 million people, incumbent President Joko Widodo is expected to win the presidential elections on Wednesday, April 17th.

Estimates give him about 55% of the vote, compared to 45% for his opponent Prabowo Subianto, a former military man supported by Islamist conservatives and compromised in the former dictatorial regime of Suharto (which led Indonesia from 1967 to 1998), of which he had married one of the daughters. He has been accused of numerous abuses and violations of fundamental human rights, particularly in East Timor after the invasion of the territory by the Indonesian army in 1975, as well as on the island of Papua.

Prabowo Subianto is already challenging the results, as he did in 2014 in the last presidential election, against the same opponent. This challenge had been rejected by the Constitutional Court.

Joko Widodo, nicknamed Jokowi, is considered moderate and is at the center of the political spectrum. He was reelected thanks to a rather favorable assessment of the development of the country and the infrastructures, in spite of many compromises with the conservatives to assure the direction of the country.

Elections have been an enormous logistical challenge in this archipelago of officially 16,000 islands (but it is estimated that there would be about 18,000 in total, the census of these islands is still ongoing), the largest in the world, and which stretches for thousands of kilometers.

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