Indonesia votes
May 21, 2019

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was declared official winner of April's presidential election early Tuesday, beating former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, 55.5 percent to 45.5 percent. Subianto, an authoritarian nationalist who had aligned himself with Islamic hard-liners, refused to concede, telling reporters he will "continue to make legal efforts in line with the constitution to defend the mandate of the people and the constitutional rights that were seized." Independent observers said the election appeared free and fair.

Widodo also beat Subianto in the 2014 election, and Subianto lost his challenge of those results before Indonesia's Constitutional Court. About 32,000 security personnel were dispatched around Jakarta, the capital, on Tuesday in anticipation of protests from Subianto's supporters, and the Election Commission's headquarters was under heavy guard behind razor wire.

Widodo, a 57-year-old relative moderate from humble beginnings, was governor of Jakarta before winning his first five-year term. Subianto, 67, was formerly married to the daughter of longtime Indonesian dictator Suharto, and though he is closely linked to the country's traditional political elite, he ran as an outsider. Peter Weber

April 17, 2019

Indonesia held logistically challenging national elections on Wednesday, and unofficial preliminary results show President Joko Widodo on track for a second five-year term. The election was a rematch of the 2014 race, and Widodo, 57, is projected to beat 67-year-old Prabowo Subianto, a former general, by about 10 percentage points, according to "quick count" sampling from five independent polling groups. The "quick counts" have proved accurate in previous elections.

Widodo's projected victory is seen as a win for his relative moderation over Subianto's strident nationalism and fear-based rhetoric about Indonesia being weak and easy prey for China and other foreign powers. Both candidates had courted Indonesia's growing faction of religiously conservative Muslims; Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, but freedom of religious worship is enshrined in its constitution.

By any measure, the election was massive, the first time Indonesia has voted for president, parliament, and regional governments on the same day. The government set up 800,000 polling stations around the countries 17,000 islands so the 193 million eligible voters could cast their ballots for the 245,000 candidates running in various races.

The final results will be released in May. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads