In his acceptance speech on Tuesday, Joko Widodo urged Indonesians to ‘mend broken relationships’ and work toward a reconciled nation
Jakarta. Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president-elect, has called for a national reconciliation after the election commission crowned him the winner of the July 9 election on Tuesday night, amid drama staged by rival Prabowo Subianto, who had not only rejected the official results during a televised press conference, but also removed himself from the electoral process.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) officially announced on Tuesday that Joko and running mate Jusuf Kalla had secured the presidential race with 53.15 percent of votes, over opposing ticket Prabowo and Hatta Rajasa’s 46.85 percent. Some 133.5 million Indonesians, representing 70.2 percent of the country’s eligible voters, cast their ballots to choose their next leader.
KPU provincial tallies showed Joko-Kalla had claimed victory in 23 out of 33 provinces. Votes from the country’s newest and 34th province, North Kalimantan, were combined with those cast in East Kalimantan.
The KPU insisted the results were legitimate despite rejections from Prabowo, who had labeled the counting process “flawed” in a televised press conference and whose witnesses staged a walkout during the KPU’s plenary session finalizing the national tally.
Prabowo’s camp made the move after the KPU refused to bow to demands for a revote in more than 5,000 polling stations in Jakarta alone, citing irregularities.
Political and constitutional experts backed the KPU’s decision and the validity of its results, suggesting that Prabowo and his team go to the Constitutional Court — the only institution in Indonesia authorized to handle electoral disputes — to dispute the tally. Several experts, including law professor and former justice minister Yusril Izha Mahendra, went as far as to accuse Prabowo of breaching election laws by resigning from the electoral process before it was completed.
With the court highly unlikely to reverse the electoral results — given the large gap of more than 8.4 million votes — Joko looks set to become Indonesia’s seventh president after an inauguration ceremony scheduled for Oct. 20.
“This victory is the victory of all people of Indonesia. We hope it will pave the way to create a politically dignified Indonesia, with economic self-sufficiency and cultural personality,” Joko said in his victory speech on board a traditional phinisi boat at Sunda Kelapa Port in North Jakarta, a few hours after the KPU announcement.
Despite numerous attempts made by the opposing camp to prevent his presidency, Joko graciously thanked both Prabowo and Hatta for being “our friends in the political competition,” and further addressed the rift in society after a highly emotional election season.
“This is the time to mend broken relationships. Forget about number one or number two; let’s return to a united Indonesia,” Joko said. “Let’s work together to develop Indonesia into a global maritime axis, a global civilization hub.”
Just one day prior to the KPU’s announcement, Joko announced that cutting down the nation’s infamous bureaucracy — notorious for its complex and lengthy processes — and boosting eastern Indonesia’s infrastructure would be his priorities at the start of his five-year term in office.
“It gives me a headache hearing about how it may take two or even six years to obtain a business permit,” Joko said during a visit to the newsroom of Bisnis Indonesia in Jakarta on Monday. “I will work on solving these problems hindering our nation’s development.
“Many people are lining up to invest in Indonesia; we should be able to benefit from that. The BKPM’s [Investment Coordinating Board] hard work to search for investors will be useless if regions keep failing to improve permit issuance [procedures],” he added.
In one of five presidential debates broadcast live across the nation, Joko outlined his plan to push for a paperless bureaucracy should he be elected president, citing the introduction of “e-budgeting, e-purchasing, e-audit, e-taxation” in Jakarta during his two years as governor — a service he would like to expand to other regions of the country.
E-bureaucracy, Joko said, is the key element to ensuring transparency and helping combat fraud.
The former mayor of Solo also described his intentions to shift the government’s focus from the more developed western part of the archipelago to the struggling east, where such necessities as electricity remain scarce.
“This is why I went to Papua at the beginning of the [presidential] campaign period,” Joko said, adding that physically connecting the archipelago’s countless islands would be a crucial part of accomplishing that mission.
During the second presidential debate, on economic development, Joko explained his plans to build 10 new seaports, 10 new airports and 10 industrial zones each year, while also constructing 2,000 kilometers of new roads.
Poempida Hidayatullah, a member of the Joko-Kalla campaign team, conceded they had not provided much detail on what they planned to do during their first year in office or even first 100 days in office.
“However, based on the [presidential] debates and [campaign] manifesto, it’s very obvious that they [plan to] immediately boost efficiency in various budgetary issues,” said Poempida, who is also a close aide to Kalla.
“They’ll also want to accelerate infrastructure development; and that will require positive economic growth.”
For growth to occur, he added, clean governance is a must.
“While these processes are ongoing, other programs like social welfare will be dealt with in the middle [of Joko-Kalla’s term in office],” Poempida told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday, adding that further details of the priority program would be decided after the new cabinet was formed.
Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, a political observer from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said Joko should also make “national reconciliation” a priority, considering the tense circumstances surrounding his victory and the social rift left in the wake of a highly polarizing campaign season.
“A united Indonesia is important as the new government must be accepted by all members of the community,” Ikrar said, noting that nearly half of the votes on July 9 had gone to Prabowo.
He also reminded Joko-Kalla to work on preparing Indonesia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) Economic Community — a regional free-trade framework due to take effect in 2015.
Professional or partisan?
Talk of the future cabinet resurfaced the moment Joko looked set to secure the country’s top position.
Kalla said on Monday, however, that the pair had not had the chance to discuss the matter as they were focusing their attention on winning the election.
“There will be three months [to form a cabinet] after the [KPU] announcement. We’ll discuss it in the coming months,” Kalla said.
The coalition supporting Joko-Kalla’s bid for the presidency could easily be called tiny compared to the massive political machine backing Prabowo-Hatta, consisting only of Joko’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) and the National Democrat Party (NasDem).
Joko has touted this as part of his ticket’s strength, as fewer parties mean fewer demands for seats in the cabinet. Still, he emphasized the crucial selection process would not be marred by demands from his coalition members — including PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
“I truly respect Megawati as my senior. But surely good governance should come from making the right decisions and what is best for our nation,” Joko said, addressing concerns that he would be a mere “puppet president” to Megawati.
Kalla, on the other hand, did not deny that coalition members would be considered for posts in the cabinet.
“But surely the selection should also be based on professionalism,” he said.