Indonesia election commission confirms Prabowo Subianto as new president

Former general formally declared the winner of last month’s presidential election.

Prabowo Subianto waves after the elections commission confirmed he won last month's election.
Prabowo Subianto waves after his February 14 election victory was confirmed [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

Prabowo Subianto has been formally confirmed as Indonesia’s next president, decisively beating two rivals who have promised to file a legal complaint over February’s election.

Defence Minister Prabowo and his vice presidential running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, won a majority of votes on February 14, winning 59 percent, or more than 96 million votes, General Elections Commission Chair Hasyim Asy’ari said late on Wednesday, the deadline for the announcement of the official result.

Anies Baswedan secured nearly 41 million votes, or 25 percent of the total count, while Ganjar Pranowo received 27 million votes, more than 16 percent.

Prabowo, a former special forces commander who has been accused of human rights abuses, will take over from outgoing President Joko Widodo, Gibran’s father and popularly known as Jokowi, in October after a transition period.

Al Jazeera’s Jessica Washington, reporting from Jakarta, described the win as “a resounding victory”.

It is a “remarkable victory for a man who has contested the presidency twice before and failed,” Washington said.

“He has promised a smooth transition to power and has promised that he will be the continuity candidate and continue the work of the very popular president.”

The 72-year-old swept the election on promises of continuing Jokowi’s policies, riding on the president’s popularity and using social media platforms like TikTok to tap the support of Indonesia’s legion of young voters.

Prabowo had already claimed victory in the election after unofficial vote counts showed him with a significant lead over his rivals.

“We should not be arrogant. We should not be proud. We should not be euphoric. We still have to be humble. This victory must be a victory for all Indonesian people,” he said at the time in a speech broadcast on national television.

Controversies and concerns

Anies and Ganjar said they plan to submit a complaint to the Constitutional Court about irregularities and alleged fraud during the general election.

Washington said their teams had discussed issues of “widespread distribution of social aid” that they said was an “anomaly, saying that the level of social aid that was dispersed in the lead up of the election suggests that it may have been trying to gain the sympathy of voters, rather than for the legitimate purposes of social aid”.

Prabowo’s legal team, however, is confident the result will not be successfully challenged because of his wide margin of victory, local media reported on Tuesday. Prabowo himself challenged the election when he lost to Jokowi in 2019.

The road to Prabowo’s win was marred by controversies and concerns about patronage politics over his alliance with the president who was accused of abusing his position to favour his former rival, allegations his allies denied.

Prabowo has been accused of human rights abuses in East Timor, which won independence from Indonesia in 2002 after the collapse of the Soeharto government, and in Indonesia’s troubled eastern region of Papua.

On the campaign trail, Prabowo and Gibran promised to continue the policies of Gibran’s father, who has an approval rating of about 80 percent but was barred under the constitution from running again.

They will inherit an economy that grew a little more than 5 percent last year and a slate of ambitious infrastructure projects, including the transfer of the capital from Jakarta to the island of Borneo.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies