ASIA/INDONESIA - Ex-General Prabowo Subianto towards presidency

Thursday, 15 February 2024 politics   elections  

Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) - Former general Prabowo Subianto (72), is preparing to become the new president of Indonesia. Although the results have not yet been officially announced, the former general has declared his victory in the presidential election, calling it "the victory for all Indonesians". Although the final official result - given the territorial structure of the archipelago comprising 17,000 islands - will only be known in a few weeks, there are already initial projections from a rapid count that is considered to be very reliable and carried out by three independent survey institutes ("Indonesian Survey Institute", "Population Center" and "Political Chart" with 2000 polling stations in 38 provinces), which all agree that Prabowo Subianto has a clear lead over the other candidates and a result well above the absolute majority of the votes (over 58% of the votes), which would allow him to be elected in the first round, without the need for a run-off. The "rapid counting" system has produced accurate results in the four rounds of presidential elections in Indonesia since direct elections began in 2004 and is therefore considered very credible and reliable. The former general presented himself as the heir to the highly popular President Joko Widodo, who ruled Indonesia for two terms and whose son is running for vice president alongside Prabowo. Prabowo Subianto was an army general during the Suharto dictatorship, which ended with the opening of a democratic phase in Indonesia just over 25 years ago. He was criticized by the international community for human rights violations while he was commander of the "Kopassus" special forces, which are accused of torture and disappearances.
A shadow hangs over the new president related to violence in East Timor in the 1980s and 1990s, when Indonesia occupied the country, which became independent in 2002. Further allegations of human rights violations against Suharto's political opponents forced him to resign from the army. Many of his men were tried and convicted, but Subianto was never formally charged and convicted. He went into self-imposed exile in 1998 and returned to Indonesia in 2008, where he helped found the Gerinda Party. In his new role as a politician, Prabowo Subianto initially opposed Joko Widodo but then allied with him, becoming defense minister in his government and putting the former president's son at his side - a move that was controversial and viewed as "nepotism". During the election campaign, he promised to continue the modernization program that has brought the country rapid growth and made Indonesia an "emerging power" in Asia. He vowed to continue Widodo's economic development plan, which harnessed Indonesia's wealth in nickel, coal, oil and gas and spurred the expansion of Southeast Asia's largest economy. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/2/2024)