Elections of 2014

Parliamentary Election

Due to the corruption cases within the PD party and the fact that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had reached the maximum limit of two presidential terms (although support for him had already declined rapidly in the last years of his presidency), the PD would not play a role in the upcoming 2014 legislative elections. In fact, there was a new kid on the block who became the center of attention. Joko Widodo, a former businessman (in furniture and property), had become a very popular figure. As mayor of Solo (Central Java) from 2005 to 2012 he was keen on establishing a close relationship with the city's citizens, while introducing a series of reforms and other positive changes.

Widodo, often called Jokowi, then decided to run for governor of Jakarta, aided by running mate Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (often called Ahok), a Christian ethnic Chinese. Both men defeated incumbent governor Fauzi Bowo and became leaders of Indonesia's capital city in 2012. Jokowi continued the approach and style that he had shown in Solo, becoming known as a true "people's man". He reformed local education, healthcare and public transportation, while improving transparency in order to prevent corrupt behavior. Jokowi and Ahok were often portrait as the Batman and Robin of Jakarta due to their decisive and swift action as well as pro-people attitude.

Being governor of Indonesia's capital city Jokowi automatically started to generate a lot of attention in Indonesian press and ahead of the 2014 elections he was included - and usually leading - in the opinions polls for the 2014 presidential election. However, being a non-partisan figure, he needed a political party to back him. After a period of speculation it was finally announced in early 2014 that the PDI-P - still under the leadership of Megawati - would support Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election. When this news started to spread foreign and domestic investors poured money into Indonesia's capital markets.

But there was serious competition. Golkar, always a stable and solid political strength, continued to have widespread support across the country (particularly outside Java). However, Golkar had one weakness: its leader was now controversial businessman Aburizal Bakrie. The Bakrie Group is one of the richest conglomerates in Indonesia but is often plagued by scandals and debt woes. One of the Bakrie-linked companies was allegedly the cause of the huge mud-flow in Sidoarjo (East Java). Bakrie's rise to Golkar chairman is one of the many examples that money politics remains an important factor in Indonesian politics. Although Golkar could count on much popular support, few believed that Bakrie had a chance of becoming president.

There was also controversial former army general Prabowo Subianto who had set up a new political party: the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra). Although he is linked to various human rights abuses Prabowo became a popular figure as he had a strong character (after ten years of Yudhoyono's indecisive rule many Indonesians wanted a strong leader again). Moreover, he could rely on a strong network across the country (and had the financial resources to finance this network).

The PDI-P won the 2014 legislative election by collecting 18.95 percent of the votes. However, this was a much smaller victory than most people and analysts had forecast and therefore some began to wonder whether Jokowi was indeed the miracle man that he had seemed at first. Golkar came in second with 14.75 percent, followed by Gerindra (11.81 percent). As expected the PD party tumbled, losing about half of its popular support compared to the preceding election.

Legislative Election Indonesia 2014:

  2014 2009 2004 1999
PDI-P 19.0% 14.0% 18.5% 33.7%
Golkar 14.8% 14.5% 21.6% 22.4%
Gerindra 11.8%  4.5%     -     -
PD 10.2% 20.8%  7.5%     -
PAN  7.6%  6.0%  6.4%  7.1%

Presidential Election

The same high threshold was used in the 2014 presidential election of Indonesia, meaning that parties - or coalitions of parties - that control at least 20 percent of seats in the DPR or received 25 percent of the national votes in the legislative election were able to nominate a presidential candidate.

Based on the results of the 2014 legislative election there were four political parties that managed to obtain a significant amount of votes (>10 percent) and thus had power when bargaining for presidential candidates. These parties were the PDI-P, Golkar, Gerindra and PD. The PD, however, was left in ruins by corruption scandals while there emerged no new leader within the party that could pick up the pieces and carry the party forward. As it had been Yudhoyono's political vehicle to transport him to the presidency, the party was basically nothing without him (Yudhoyono could not compete in the 2014 election due to the two-term cap).

Meanwhile, Golkar was internally divided about the leadership and nomination of controversial Chairman Aburizal Bakrie. As such, there were basically two true candidates (also based on the various opinions polls): Joko Widodo (backed by the PDI-P) and Prabowo Subianto (with his Gerindra party). However, they needed coalition partners as well as running mates (vice-presidential candidates).

Jokowi teamed up with political veteran Jusuf Kalla. The pair was supported by the PDI-P, NasDem, PKB and Hanura. The other pair consisted of Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa (former economics minister and chairman of the PAN). This pair was backed by Gerindra, PAN, PPP, PKS and Golkar. The fact that Kalla (who has a long history within the Golkar party) teamed up with Jokowi showed the high degree of division within the Golkar party that - officially - backed Prabowo. It actually deepened the division.

Initially, Jokowi led the opinion polls by a big margin. However, as the presidential election (scheduled for 9 July 2014) approached, Jokowi's lead waned. This was primarily due to the good network of Prabowo (up to the farmer level) and good press coverage. Supported by the Bakrie Group (which owns television stations, websites and magazines) positive press coverage of Prabowo spread across the archipelago. Meanwhile, Jokowi was supported by the news station (MetroTV) of NasDem Chairman Surya Paloh.

On 9 July 2014 the Indonesian people went to the ballot boxes for the presidential election. It turned out to be a very tight race between Widodo and Prabowo, filled with confusion. During the first half of the day most quick count results actually were in favor of Prabowo. In the afternoon the former general even claimed victory in a press conference. By the end of the day, however, most quick count results informed that Widodo had won the 2014 election but with a very narrow margin. Therefore, the participants, investors and the people, had to wait for the official result.

On 22 July 2014 the General Elections Commission (KPU) officially declared Joko Widodo the winner of the 2014 presidential election. He beat Prabowo by 53.15 to 46.85 percent. However, just before this official statement was released Prabowo withdrew from the recapitulation process claiming that the counting process was not valid due to the occurrence of "massive cheating". His next move was to appeal against the election result at Indonesia's Constitutional Court. After this court rejected Prabowo's appeal on 21 August 2014, he finally accepted his defeat.

Presidential Election Indonesia 2014:

   2014
Joko Widodo,
Jusuf Kalla
53.15%
Subianto Prabowo,
Hatta Rajasa
46.85%

Click here to see a list of members in the current Indonesian cabinet.

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