SINGAPORE (Apr 29): President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) cruised to victory in last week’s presidential election against his only challenger, Prabowo Subianto. The “quick count” of votes showed Jokowi winning the election by a clear majority of around 54% compared with Prabowo’s 46% — a slightly higher margin compared with his 2014 win over Prabowo. Parties supporting Jokowi are likely to secure a majority in parliament as well. Despite the peaceful and well-conducted election, several commentaries on the election have been somewhat downbeat, pointing, for example, to how potent the raw appeals to religious exclusivity has been.

Our take is a much more positive one — the glass is more than half full. First, even while recognising the imperfections in Indonesia’s democracy, its elections still showed that Indonesia stands out among large and populous developing societies for the quality of its democracy. Second, looking forward, we believe that Jokowi now has the chance to put in place the reforms needed to spark off an impressive transformation of Indonesia into a dynamic, fast-growing and fair society.

Indonesian democracy is in better shape than its peers; good for long-term stability

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