We don’t know who the winner is yet, but the presidential election in Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, is already proving to be the most exciting in recent memory: messy, polarized, and full of drama. Both candidates — Djoko Widodo (known as Jokowi) and Prabowo Subianto — are claiming victory, each citing unofficial results produced by several private polling agencies. Indonesia’s official news agencies have now withdrawn their initial vote projections in order to calm the waters before the official results are released. The Indonesian Election Commission will start counting the votes on July 21. According to the English-language Jakarta Post, cases of foul play are spreading “like a rash during the vote tabulation phase.” Most of the complaints are coming from Jokowi’s supporters. Whoever wins, his margin of victory will be small. Both candidates have already made it clear that they will not accept defeat on the basis of the vote count determined by the Indonesian Election Commission (KPU). That means that the second-place candidate will probably take matters to the Constitutional Court, which will delay the official announcement of the results by a month, complicate the country’s already chaotic post-electoral politics, and test the (so far admirable) discipline of each camp’s supporters.
On the positive side, an appeal will further institutionalize these procedures and establish a road map for future contingencies. Indonesia has approximately three months to complete the electoral process before a new president takes the charge by mid-October 2014.
Over the past three months, the election has opened up a sharp political divide between the traditional political elite and groups that are demanding greater political change. The former camp has coalesced around Prabowo, an ex-general who played a leading role in Suharto’s security apparatus. The latter, consisting mainly of civil society groups and ordinary citizens, have supported Jokowi, who has used his position as mayor of Jakarta to buttress his reputation as a reformer. These two sides of the Indonesian electorate have found themselves at odds over the question of how much democracy is good for Indonesia and how much political space is needed for Indonesian citizens.
Full Article: The Good News from Indonesia’s Election Stalemate.