INDONESIA’s minister for industry Airlangga Hartarto said Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s loss in the Jakarta election shows the country’s democracy is “transparent.”
Airlangga is a member of Ahok’s Golkar Party and a member of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s Cabinet, making him a natural ally of the sitting governor who lost yesterday’s gubernatorial poll.
Ahok was formerly Jokowi’s deputy when the president was Jakarta’s governor, before being elected to the nation’s top job in 2014.
The Jakarta election is widely seen as having significant bearing on the 2019 presidential election, making Ahok’s loss a blow for the president.
Speaking at The Economist Indonesia Summit in Jakarta on Thursday, however, Airlangga’s tone was optimistic and he said that despite Ahok’s loss the vote showed Indonesia’s democracy is strong and “transparent.”
Jakarta police said yesterday that the vote proceeded with no significant threats to security or signs of voter intimidation.
Airlangga noted that the government did not intervene in an effort to influence the result, and that Ahok’s ready acceptance of Anies’ victory last night signals a healthy democratic system.
Furthermore, Airlangga said he was optimistic that Jakarta will be “pro-business” under Anies-Sandi, noting that Sandiaga is one of Indonesia’s most successful businessmen.
Airlangga spoke on a range of issues, including Indonesia’s push to build infrastructure under Jokowi, vocational training to address skills shortages and regulation of business in the country.
On infrastructure, he said, “mostly the progress is still on track”, athough construction of a major port in West Java had been delayed.
The minister drew laughs when he said, “for most of us living in Jakarta” there had been an improvement in infrastructure under Jokowi and Ahok, noting that perhaps this was not apparent to those not living in Jakarta – alluding to foreign businessmen in attendance.
He said there had been an advancement in the country’s manufacturing sector under Jokowi, stating that such progress was “not meant for every election” but part of a longer-term vision for Indonesia.