July 28, 2014
A Bright Future for Indonesia
By Novi Anggriani
Program Officer, Indonesia, The Asia Foundation

On July 22, 2014, Joko Widodo was declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election. Novi Anggriani, the program officer in the Indonesia office of The Asia Foundation, says Widodo’s victory will put the country back on the right track.

The election process was phenomenally successful. Indonesians have been waiting for a leader who can effect positive change for their country, and they have put their hope in Widodo.

Widodo, who won 53.15 percent of the vote, said, “This victory is a victory of all Indonesian people. I hope that this victory will open our ways to reach and achieve a politically sovereign, economically independent, and culturally characterized Indonesia.”

Indeed, with Widodo as president, Indonesia – one of the most populous countries in the world – is expected to become a major player in the world economy in the near future.

Indonesians have high hopes that Widodo will implement good governance practices. They are tired of corruption: Hundreds of Indonesian mayors and governors are in jail due to corruption cases.

As the former mayor of Solo and governor of Jakarta, Widodo has a great track record for leading the people. There is hope that trust in government will be renewed.

Many Indonesian ministries are filled with people who lack the ability to lead the department or understand the sector. Widodo has promised to recruit experts to work in his cabinet, and has even asked the public to propose names of people they think are appropriate for the position.

Widodo’s election victory has also inspired hope that there will be more respect for diversity across the country. Although Indonesia has become one of the most democratic countries in the world, there is still a great deal of intolerance and disrespect for pluralism.

Some experts have described this presidential election as a battle between fundamentalists and moderates, in which the moderates triumphed. Widodo has a reputation as a leader who hires people based on their professionalism and experience, rather than on their cultural or religious backgrounds. Under his leadership, the people can work toward a more pluralistic Indonesia and build a stronger sovereign nation.

The region also expects Indonesia to improve relations with the international community and become a friendlier business environment by establishing better regulatory frameworks.

Widodo’s background as an entrepreneur is expected to help him improve the business environment in Indonesia. As mayor of Solo and governor of Jakarta, he was known for welcoming more businesses into the region. There is hope that Indonesia will soon play a more significant role in the regional economy.

With all of these expectations, I hope Widodo continues to surround himself with good and professional people who will work together for a better Indonesia. Many people from different backgrounds have agreed to support his initiatives and make sure that everything is on the right track.

As Widodo declared in the closing remarks of his July 22 speech, “Politics is full of fun, that there is happiness in politics, that there is goodness in politics, and that politics is a liberation. This is the time to work together. We are strong because we are united, we are united because we are strong.”

Novi AnggrianiNovi Anggriani is a program officer in The Asia Foundation’s Indonesia office. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not those of The Asia Foundation.