Two days ago, after about two weeks of wrangling, accusations, and general uncertainty, Indonesia’s General Election Commission declared Joko Widodo the winner of the July 9 presidential election. Mr. Joko, the populist governor of Jakarta and former mayor of Surakarta, defeated Probowo Subianto — a retired army general and son-in-law of former President/dictator Suharto — by about 8 million votes (out of almost 135 million total votes cast). Mr. Probowo is still contesting the election result, asserting widespread fraud, but most observers doubt that the Constitutional Court will overturn the result, particularly given the margin of victory and the fact that the outcome was consistent with a number of independent polls conducted by reputable organizations.
This result is a big deal for many reasons–including the implications for the struggle against corruption in Indonesia and elsewhere. I am certainly no expert on Indonesian politics, so there’s much about this development that I don’t understand. But, having followed the Indonesian election from a distance, let me toss out some off-the-cuff thoughts on how one might think about the result from an anticorruption perspective. I hope that people who know this stuff better than I do will weigh in with their own reactions. Here goes: