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‘Continuity’ Prabowo means change for Indonesia


Prabowo Subianto used the endorsement of the popular outgoing president to win power - but is unlikely to govern as Jokowi’s ‘proxy’.

When I had lunch with Prabowo Subianto in 2013, a year before his first, failed attempt to be elected president of Indonesia, he was still honing his fiery nationalist pitch, promising to shake up the country and prevent it becoming a failed state. 

Eleven years later, the 72-year-old former general finally seems to have secured the presidency by reinventing himself as a continuity candidate, forming an unlikely alliance with the incredibly popular outgoing President Joko Widodo.

Unofficial ‘quick counts’ by respected pollsters, which are typically accurate, indicate that Prabowo won nearly 60 per cent of the vote in Indonesia’s presidential election on February 14. That would be a landslide victory over his rivals, former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo. 

With more than 200 million voters and 800,000 polling stations spread over thousands of islands in the world’s third most populous democracy, the official results will take one month to collate.

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