Prabowo Officially Declared as Indonesia’s Next President

(Bloomberg) -- Prabowo Subianto has been officially declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election by a wide margin, paving way for him to take the helm at Southeast Asia’s largest economy later this year.

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The defense minister won nearly 58.6% of votes, surpassing his rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo who only secured 25% and 16.5%, respectively, the General Elections Commission said on Wednesday.

The official results support what independent quick counts showed hours after the Feb. 14 polls closed. Prabowo himself declared victory on the same day, his third attempt for the presidency after losing twice to Joko Widodo in past elections. Prabowo and running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the son of incumbent Jokowi, is expected to be sworn in for a five-year term on Oct. 20.

The Prabowo-Gibran victory may face challenges as his rivals have threatened to file a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court and have begun collecting evidence of alleged fraud. They have three days from the announcement of official results to do so. Some of the parties supporting the camps of Anies and Ganjar — controlling nearly 50% of parliamentary seats — have also called for an inquiry, which could allow parliament to investigate the election.

Fractured Parliament

President-elect Prabowo, 72, will have to contend with a parliament that’s fractured by a larger opposition. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, that backed Jokowi in the past and supported Ganjar in the election, won the largest number of votes at about 15%. Meanwhile, parties that threw their lot in with Prabowo — Gerindra, Golkar, the Democratic Party and the National Mandate Party — make up about 42%.

Results of the legislative election show that Prabowo, like the incumbent Jokowi, must reach across party lines to form a stronger coalition if he wants to pass potentially difficult reforms such as funding a costly free lunch program, cutting down energy subsidies and privatizing some state-owned enterprises.

Investors are closely watching Prabowo as he assembles his new government, especially for key positions such as the finance minister. On the campaign trail, he promised to advance Jokowi’s business-friendly agenda to spur more investment into a trillion-dollar economy that has enjoyed steady economic growth and manageable inflation in the past decade.

The defense minister has pledged to uphold fiscal prudence while aiming for much faster growth of 8% in the next five years to meet the ambition of becoming a high-income nation.

--With assistance from Norman Harsono.

(Updates with legislative election results in fifth paragraph.)

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