by Stephen Wright | AP

September 2 at 8:39 PM

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s hosting of the Asian video games and a list haul of gold medals have swelled countrywide delight, boosting the re-election campaign of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

the two-week games ended Saturday with Indonesia fourth on the medal desk behind China, Japan and South Korea. a very good chunk of its 31 gold medals were in vague activities held most effective at the Asian video games, and none changed into from swimming or athletics.

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

A well-bought opening ceremony, an absence of most important organizational issues and Jokowi’s shock announcement Saturday that Indonesia would bid for the 2032 Olympics have fueled feel-decent nationalism that analysts say is probably going to elevate Jokowi in voters’ sentiments heading to an April election.

that could widen his already great lead over former established and ultranationalist flesh presser Prabowo Subianto, Jokowi’s challenger for a second time.

The games will “definitely have a favorable impact on Jokowi’s electability,” spoke of Syamsuddin Haris, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. “The unbelievable opening ceremony became a successful campaign for the incumbent, in particular to entice swing voters and millennials whose numbers are very significant.”

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

That was evident two weeks ago in his cameo at the opening ceremony earlier than a crowd of forty,000 and a country wide television viewers.

A slickly choreographed video showed Jokowi stuck in site visitors — a humorous nod to one in every of Jakarta’s predominant challenges in internet hosting the games. He donned a black helmet and raced in the course of the city’s backstreets on a bike to reach the stadium on time.

Then the bike proven in the video sped into the stadium and its helmeted driver disappeared right into a tunnel moments earlier than the precise Jokowi looked in the VIP enviornment to thunderous applause.

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

In a different moment that riveted Indonesians, Jokowi become proven enthusiastically grooving to tune blasting across the stadium, a stark contrast to the morbid formality of most Southeast Asian leaders.

Haris stated the video games additionally positively highlighted ethnic and non secular adjustments in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, with greater than 260 million people, making it tougher to make the most those divisions throughout the election crusade, he noted.

“The Indonesian individuals noticed how the athletes are fighting for victory, for gold medals, and the winners are not simplest Muslim, however also of chinese descent, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist,” Haris said. “this will definitely dampen the sectarian and ethnic considerations used within the 2014 presidential elections.”

regardless of Jokowi’s prominence, Subianto wasn’t totally disadvantaged of oxygen.

As chairman of the Pencak Silat association — a native martial paintings blanketed in these games — he became proven on countrywide television providing one of the crucial 14 gold medals that Indonesia received in the self-discipline, and in a gaggle hug with Jokowi and one of the vital winners.

but he was additionally mocked online with a mercilessly positive meme that juxtaposed a recent photo of a shirtless and flabby Subianto in opposition t the washboard abs of an Indonesian heartthrob who jubilantly tore off his shirt after successful gold within the guys’s badminton singles.

young Indonesians make up 35-40 percent of voters and may play a “decisive” position in the 2019 presidential race, observed Hugo Brennan, Asia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a company and political risk consultancy.

“Jokowi’s motorcycle stunt throughout the outlet ceremony become greatly shared on amicable media and may have burnished his ‘cool credentials’ among this important constituency,” he referred to.

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