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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (AP)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (AP)

Relief in Indonesia

Indonesian President Widodo shares an eerie similarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both of them sought to dismantle the conventional political set-up of the nation

India's second phase of polling is underway. Another five phases to go. Meanwhile, less than 5,000 kilometres away, our dominant maritime neighbour, Indonesia appears to have chosen to give its incumbent leader, President Joko Widodo, another term in office. While Indian elections reserve the title of being the world’s largest democratic exercise, Indonesia has conducted the world’s biggest single-day election. It is interesting that nuzzled between the beginning and the last phase of the Indian election is Indonesia’s own democratic journey. The balloting itself, which took more than eight hours, is a huge logistical exercise on the Indian Ocean archipelago, with around 193 million people eligible to vote, more than 800,000 polling stations and 17 million electoral officers responsible for the smooth conduct of the country's election.

Although official results are slated to be released only later in the month of April, if the results of a preliminary count are considered, then it looks like a clean win for President Widodo, who was seeking a second term. Jokowi, as he is popularly known, entered politics 14 years back. He shares an eerie similarity with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both of them sought to dismantle the conventional political set-up of the nation; the former of authoritarianism in Indonesia and the latter of dynastic politics in India. However, while Jokowi has been the frontrunner all along, he betrayed signs of nervousness in the final phase of his first term. While he finds favour with observers (and his people) for his progressive social policies and relatively liberal views, as opposed to his opponent Prabowo Subianto, who is suspected of authoritarian tendencies, everyone was not pleased with his failure to speak up for secular values when the occasion demanded it. Yet, the critics who complained of this are also relieved that his main challenger has not staged an upset (on current indications).

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