Joko Widodo appears to have been re-elected to a second term as president of Indonesia, declaring victory in the election held last week. His win is a victory for stability and continuity in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest country and a geopolitical anchor for the region. Jokowi, as Widodo is popularly known, should now double down on his reform efforts as well as resist more strongly the creep of hard-line Islam into what has been a model of tolerance for the Muslim world.
Last week’s vote was a replay of the last general election held in 2014. Then, Jokowi — a furniture salesman turned politician who was governor of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital — defeated Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces general who had been involved in human rights abuses while trying to crush the East Timor independence movement. He is also the former son-in-law of Suharto, the dictator who was forced to resign in 1998 after the Asian economic crisis. Jokowi was the first president of Indonesia who was not a member of the political and military elite that had run Indonesian politics for generations.