Indonesia presidential election result good news for Australia, says expert.
Indonesia’s new president is likely to improve bilateral relations between his country and Australia – Singapore and Malaysia are also set to benefit by a Joko Widodo victory, ANU expert Greg Fealy says.
Jokowi, as he is commonly known, will lead Indonesia for the next five years, after snaring 71 million votes in the country’s presidential election. He will take office in October.
The official result of 9 July’s presidential election was released Tuesday evening by Indonesia’s electoral commission, which declared Jokowi had won 53.17 per cent of the national vote.
“I expect he will not be too hard a president for Australians to work with,” Dr Fealy told ABC radio.
“He is a pro-reform figure. He is quite a measured man. He wants Indonesia to be a good neighbour.”
Dr Fealy pointed out Jokowi had already spoken to Australia about finding solutions to the boat people crisis – a contentious issue that had greatly affected the relationship between the two countries.
While Jokowi wasn’t experienced in international affairs, he would obtain good advice from people who were, Fealy added.
Countries like Singapore and Malaysia would also welcome news he had been declared Indonesia’s new president.
“Particularly Malaysia, because Malaysia has probably been the most unpopular neighbouring country for Indonesians, despite all the troubles the bilateral Australia-Indonesia relationship has had over the last nine months or so,” Fealy added.
Jokowi’s rival, former military general Prabowo Subianto, received 62.5 million votes.
Talk of him withdrawing his candidacy, because he didn’t believe the final count of the election commission was fair and just, would soon blow over, Fealy predicted.
A majority of observers were of the view it had been a “pretty fair presidential election” he said.
“Of course in an election of this size you will have irregularities.
“You may have some fraud taking place, on isolated occasions.
“But not enough to alter the overall outcome. This is an election which Jokowi has won with a margin in excess of six per cent.
“That is many millions of voters that Prabowo would have to prove, in a court of law, did not get the outcome that they wanted, when they cast their votes.
“And I think everyone pretty much accepts it would be impossible for him to do that.”
Listen to Dr Fealy’s interview with ABC Radio.
In another interview with the ABC, Dr Fealy said Jokowi was nationalistic and pragmatic when it came to trade.