This Week in Contested Presidential Elections: Indonesia

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After Indonesia's electoral commission declared Joko Widodo the new president-elect late on Tuesday, Prabowo Subianto, the second-place finisher and former general, announced that he would challenge the result. Nothing major hangs in the balance; only the outcome of the biggest election in the world's third-largest democracy.

Across the world, headlines about the election of Joko Widodo range from ecstatic to psychedelically ecstatic. 

"With the Election of Joko Widodo, Indonesia Writes a New Chapter" writes Time.

"A new kind of president" crows The Economist.

And for good reason. As Yenni Kwow led:

Indonesians woke up Wednesday morning to something completely new: a President who did not hail from the political or military elite."

From humble roots, Widodo, a former furniture seller, rose through the ranks of government, once unthinkable in the country whose power was centralized around certain institutions for so long.

Striking a populist tone, he declared victory in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country earlier this month, although the votes weren't confirmed until last night. At the time, Prabowo Subianto also declared victory. As AFP reports, Subianto doesn't plan to go gentle into that good night: 

On Wednesday a spokesman for the ex-general's team said he plans to contest the result at the Consitutional Court, with the challenge directed at the election commission for allegedly mishandling the count.

The outcome for Subianto doesn't look good though. As The Economist noted:

Still, it is hard to see how a challenge could succeed. The court would have to find evidence that more than 4m votes had been tampered with to overturn Jokowi’s victory. Some irregularities in the counting process have come to light, but Mr Prabowo has produced no evidence of fraud on the scale he alleges.

Nevertheless, the hope for a seamless and euphoric transition remains out of reach, just like it does everywhere else.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.