Indonesian president-elect Jokowi gains international recognition

Indonesian president-elect Jokowi gains international recognition

Joko Widodo (Jokowi, left) with M. Jusuf Kalla. (ANTARA/Yudhi Mahatma)

US President Barack Obama also called to congratulate me."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, has gained international recognition with congratulatory messages trickling in from leaders across the globe.

The General Elections Commissions (KPUs) announcement of Jokowis victory in the presidential election on Tuesday is testament to the fact that his common man image has managed to capture the hearts of millions of Indonesians.

"If Jokowis victory in the presidential election were not internationally recognized, leaders from across the world would not have congratulated him," political observer Ari Dwipayana of the Gajah Mada University stated on Wednesday.

Jokowi and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla (JK), defeated their rivals, Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa (Prabowo-Hatta pair), by garnering more than 53 percent of the total votes.

The KPU announced that the Jokowi-JK pair received 70,997,833 votes, or 53.15 percent of the 133,574,277 valid ballots cast, while the Prabowo-Hatta pair got 62,576,444 votes or 46.85 percent.

After KPUs announcement of the Jokowi-JK pairs victory, they have been receiving a steady stream of congratulatory messages from United States Secretary of State John Kerry, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, among several others.

John Kerry remarked that bilateral ties had strengthened to a level wherein the two countries can jointly address common regional and global challenges.

"The United States looks forward to working with President-elect Widodo as we deepen our partnership, promote our shared objectives globally, and expand people-to-people ties between our nations," Kerry noted in a statement.

Jokowis can-do approach, impatience with bureaucracy, and willingness to communicate directly with the masses has won him a huge fan following in a country where close to 40 percent of the population lives below or close to the poverty line.

When Jokowi moves into the presidential palace in October, he will be Indonesias seventh president, its third to be elected through direct elections and its first to be a businessman and not hail from the elite section of society.

"Congratulatory messages to the new president-elect are something normal as a form of interstate cooperation relations," Dwipayana noted.

He expressed hope that after being inaugurated as president in October 2014, Jokowi will actively attend numerous international forums as part of his efforts to build strategic relations with other countries.

"Jokowi and JK will be inaugurated on October 20, this year, as the new president and vice president for the 2014-2019 period," Dwipayana remarked.

"We hope that the Jokowi-JK pair will be capable of realizing international relations based on national interests in accordance with their vision and mission," he emphasized.

Jokowi himself also professed to have received congratulatory messages from various world leaders.

The president-elect noted that since Tuesday night, he had received congratulatory messages, first from President Yudhoyono, then from Vice President Boediono, and thereafter from several world leaders.

"This morning, Singapores prime minister called me to convey his congratulations, which was followed by the Australian prime minister calling in to say the same thing. Then, at 11 a.m., US President Barack Obama also called to congratulate me," Jokowi remarked on Wednesday.

Obama has called Jokowi to congratulate him on his victory in Indonesias "free and fair" presidential election.

According to an AFP report, during the telephonic conversation, Obama told President-elect Jokowi that he looked forward to meeting the latter at the earliest opportunity and working with him to deepen the US-Indonesia partnership, expanding ties between the people of the two countries, and promoting shared objectives in Asia and around the world.

But Jokowi explained that nothing special was discussed in the telephonic conversations with the world leaders, apart from congratulations being conveyed to him.

"In principle, the world leaders congratulated me and said that Indonesia can strengthen cooperation with them in many fields," Jokowi noted.

Meanwhile, Achmad Nurmandi, a political observer from the Yogyakarta Muhammadiyah University, stated that Jokowi and Kalla were expected to improve Indonesias competitiveness at the international level.

"Jokowi and Kalla should do so by enhancing the economy and active foreign policy of Indonesia as the worlds most populous Muslim nation," Nurmandi noted here on Wednesday.

According to Nurmandi, Jokowi and Kalla are also expected to ensure that the central and regional government organizations can implement the policies that have been set.

The director of Jusuf Kalla School of Government (JKSG) at the Yogyakarta Muhammadiyah University remarked that empirically, institutional revolution to create a strong and effective government needs to happen at the central and regional government levels.

At the central government level, Nurmandi pointed out that political parties holding sway over the ministries bring their own challenges for Jokowi.

"As we have learnt from the present cabinet, the behavior of politicians from political parties in the ministries they control makes it difficult to create an effective government," he noted.

Therefore, Nurmandi emphasized that Jokowis acumen in choosing his cabinet ministers will determine the success of his government for the next five years.