The reform-minded governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, was Tuesday declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election after a closely-fought race against a controversial ex-general with deep roots in the era of strongman Suharto.
As a grinning Widodo, dressed in a traditional Indonesian patterned shirt, looked on, the election commission announced that he had beaten Prabowo Subianto by more than more than six percentage points in the fight to lead the world’s third-biggest democracy.
The news came after a dramatic final day to the country’s most divisive election period since the end of the Suharto era in 1998, with Prabowo angrily accusing Widodo’s team of committing fraud and announcing his withdrawal from the presidential race.
Both candidates claimed victory on the day of the July 9 election, despite reliable polling agencies predicting a win for Widodo.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.