Indonesia gets ready to elect a new president
"Widowo" now a 'hot' favourite as Indonesia gets ready to elect a new president
As Indonesians prepare to elect a new President, here is a nickname all Australians had better get to know: "Jokowi"
"Jokowi's nomination will be good for Indonesia, including the democratic process, and it will also be good for the region and Australia if, as redicted, Jokowi becomes Indonesia's next national president".
Late last Friday the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) announced that the hugely popular Governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (or 'Jokowi' as he is affectionately known throughout Indonesia) will be their presidential nominee for the forthcoming presidental elections scheduled for July of this year.
"The party's leader, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri finally came to the realisation that only Jokowi could propel the PDI-P into an unbeatable position", said Ross Taylor President of the WA-based Indonesia Institute.
"Megawati has long held the hope that she would, one day, return to the Indonesian presidency; this was totally unrealistic, and today she has put the party and her country first by nominating Jokowi as their official presidential candidate".
Mr Taylor said that Jokowi's nomination will come as a, not-that-surprising, blow to a number of leading candidates including former hard-line armed-forces general Subianto Prabowo.
"Jokowi's nomination will be good for Indonesia, including the democratic process, and it will also be good for the region and Australia if, as predicted, he becomes Indonesia's next national president".
Mr Taylor said that the 'silver lining' on a Joko Widodo presidential win would be the elevation of his current deputy governor of Jakarta, Basuki ('Ahok') Tjahaja Prunama.
"Jakarta as a major city desperately needs a continuation of competent leadership", said Mr Taylor, "And 'Ahok' can deliver that. At 47 years of age, he is a well educated and a strong yet considered leader so we could see both Indonesia and it's capital city in very 'safe' hands".
Whilst Jokowi lacks any broad international experience and the deep connections with countries such as Australia has enjoyed with the current president, Jokowi's considered, balanced and focused approach to what will be an enormous challenge, will provide the best chance for relations between Australia and Indonesia to be stablised and re-built early in his presidency, according to Mr Taylor.
"In the meantime", said Mr Taylor. "we all should start to become familiar with the name 'Jokowi' as he is most likely going to play a very large part in our region as from the middle of this year."