Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy and largest Muslim-majority country, has a new president-elect. On July 22, the General Elections Commission in Jakarta announced that Joko Widodo received 53 percent of the vote, while Prabowo Subianto received 47 percent.
On July 9, more than 130 million Indonesian voters turned out to select their next president in free and fair elections. The process was efficiently and transparently managed by Indonesia’s Election Commission.
Mr. Widodo, also known as “Jokowi,” was born in the city of Surakarta and founded a successful carpentry and furniture exporting business, and has been active in politics since 2005. After serving as mayor of the city of Solo for seven years, he was elected governor of Jakarta in 2012. Mr. Widodo generated popular enthusiasm because of his reputation for clean governance and lack of ties to an established Indonesian political family.
The United States and Indonesia have long enjoyed strong ties. Democratization and reforms in Indonesia following the overthrow of former-President Suharto in 1998 have increased the country’s stability and helped to strengthen U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relations. In 2010, President Barack Obama and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono inaugurated the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, which has deepened our engagement on many issues, including democracy and civil society, education, security, energy, trade, and the environment.
Both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated President-elect Widodo on his electoral victory. In a phone call to Mr. Widodo, President Obama noted that through this free and fair election, the people of Indonesia once again have shown their commitment to democracy.
In a statement, Secretary Kerry said that the United States and Indonesia “share many common values, including respect for human rights and the rule of law. Our two nations,” he said, “have worked hard to build the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, which has strengthened our bilateral relationship so we can jointly address common regional and global challenges. The United States looks forward to working with President-elect Widodo as we deepen our partnership, promote our shared objectives globally, and expand people-to-people ties between our nations.”