And the winner is? Jokowi Widodo

And the winner is? Jokowi Widodo

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And the winner is? Jokowi Widodo

via Stephen Wright  | The associated Press

JAKARTA—Indonesia’s internet hosting of the Asian games and a record haul of gold medals has swelled country wide pride, presenting a boost to the reelection crusade of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

the two-week-lengthy games ended on Saturday with Indonesia fourth on the medal table behind China, Japan and South Korea. a superb chunk of its 30 gold medals have been in vague activities held best at the Asian games, and none became from swimming or athletics.

however for Indonesia, which has won simplest seven Olympic gold medals—all in badminton—it changed into a landmark haul that outdid its modest ambition of sneaking into the suitable 10.

A well-acquired opening ceremony, an absence of foremost organizational issues, and Jokowi’s surprise announcement on Saturday that Indonesia would bid for the 2032 Olympics have fueled suppose-first rate nationalism that analysts say is likely to provide Jokowi a lift in the polls heading to an April election.

that could widen his already mammoth lead over former typical and ultranationalist politician Prabowo Subianto, Jokowi’s challenger for a second time.

The games will “definitely have a good impact on Jokowi’s electability,” observed Syamsuddin Haris, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. “The fantastic opening ceremony grew to be a a hit campaign for the incumbent, certainly to entice swing voters and millennials whose numbers are very big.”

Jokowi changed into in comparison to Barack Obama when first elected in 2014, and he and his advisers have cultivated a “cool cred” round his presidency.

That changed into evident two weeks in the past in his cameo on the opening ceremony before a crowd of forty.”000 and a country wide television audience.

A slickly choreographed video showed Jokowi caught in traffic—a humorous nod to considered one of Jakarta’s predominant challenges in hosting the video games. He donned a black helmet and raced during the city’s backstreets on a motorcycle to reach the stadium on time.

Then the motorcycle proven within the video sped into the stadium and its helmeted driver disappeared into a tunnel moments earlier than the actual Jokowi looked in the VIP area to thunderous applause.

It resembled part of the hole of the 2012 London Olympics, the place Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond seemed to skydive into the stadium.

In a further second that riveted Indonesians, Jokowi turned into proven enthusiastically grooving to music blasting throughout the stadium, a stark contrast to the morbid formality of most Southeast Asian leaders.

Haris said the games additionally positively highlighted ethnic and spiritual differences in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation with more than 260 million people, making it tougher to exploit these divisions right through the election crusade, he spoke of.

“The Indonesian americans noticed how the athletes are combating for victory, for gold medals, and the winners aren’t simplest Muslim, but additionally of chinese descent, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist,” Haris pointed out. “this can actually dampen the sectarian and ethnic issues used within the 2014 presidential elections.”

regardless of Jokowi’s prominence, Subianto wasn’t completely deprived of oxygen.

As chairman of the Pencak Silat affiliation—a local martial artwork protected in these video games—he turned into proven on country wide tv offering one of the crucial 14 gold medals that Indonesia won within the self-discipline, and in a gaggle hug with Jokowi and one of the winners.

however he become also mocked on-line with a mercilessly advantageous meme that juxtaposed a recent photograph of a shirtless and flabby Subianto against the washboard abs of an Indonesian heartthrob who jubilantly tore off his shirt after winning gold within the men’s badminton singles.

young Indonesians make up 35-forty percent of voters and should play a “decisive” role in the 2019 presidential race, mentioned Hugo Brennan, Asia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a business and political chance consultancy.

“Jokowi’s motorcycle stunt during the outlet ceremony turned into greatly shared on hail media and may have burnished his ‘cool credentials’ amongst this vital constituency,” he talked about.

The PR recall comes lower than a month after Jokowi unexpectedly selected a conservative cleric, Ma’ruf Amin, as his operating best mate, dismaying moderate and liberal supporters however doubtless neutralizing destructive criticism that he isn’t sufficiently Islamic.

Most of his 5-12 months term has been spent balancing the calls for of his average nefarious, effective Islamic conservatives, a sophisticated parliamentary coalition and the defense force, which has never fully accredited its diminished role following the end of the Suharto dictatorship two decades in the past.

enhancing Indonesia’s creaking infrastructure has been Jokowi’s signature policy—the Asian games in some way highlighted one of the most growth—and he enters the campaign the clear but now not unbeatable front-runner.

If it’s any consolation for Prabowo, who changed into narrowly defeated by Jokowi in 2014, the games afterglow will fade and is unlikely to be a decisive ingredient when the realm’s third greatest democracy votes in April, analysts spoke of.

“I think Jokowi’s and Indonesia’s efficiency within the Asian video games will supply the president a little of a bump in the polls but I’m not bound it drastically adjustments his odds of reelection,” pointed out Eurasia community analyst Peter Mumford.

“Any benefit from the Asian video games may additionally have dissipated by using then. however certainly doesn’t do him any damage,” he stated.

Jokowi, youngsters, looks intent on extending its shelf existence, saying alongside the president of the overseas Olympic Committee on Saturday that as a result of the success of the Asian games, Indonesia will bid for the 2032 Olympics.image credit: AP

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