July 17, 2014 12:00 am JST

Different approaches, same problems in Indonesia

Indonesia, a Southeast Asian giant with a population of 250 million, will soon have its first new president in 10 years. The July 9 election was a hard-fought race between two candidates: Jakarta Gov. Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who enjoys widespread grass-roots support, and Prabowo Subianto, a former member of the military elite who portrays himself as a "strong" leader.

     Though many "quick count" results compiled by private pollsters put Widodo ahead, both camps have claimed victory. This means the country must wait for the official tally, due to be released by the election commission in late July.

     Indonesia is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that is part of the Group of 20 leading and emerging-market economies. The regional heavyweight is now at a crossroads, faced with the challenge of how best to leverage its youthful population and vast reserves of natural resources to become a true economic powerhouse.