Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto has been a fixture in his country’s politics for decades. He ran for president several times before his recent victory, served as defense minister and was a major force in parliament. And yet, he won the election largely because of outgoing President Joko Widodo’s endorsement.

That has led some experts to believe that as president, Prabowo, who is 72, would essentially be a puppet of Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi. The incumbent supported the incoming leader in part because the latter made Jokowi’s inexperienced son his vice president.

The whole notion is hard to believe, despite Widodo’s sizable popularity: Prabowo will be his own man. He will chart his path on foreign policy, some aspects of domestic affairs and possibly on issues related to democracy, whose institutions have weakened in Indonesia — one of Asia’s democratic success stories since the end of the Suharto regime.