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Marcos congratulates Indonesia's Prabowo after apparent election victory

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Marcos congratulates Indonesia's Prabowo after apparent election victory
This composite photo shows Philippine President Marcos Jr. (left) and Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (right).
Bay Ismoyo (Prabowo's photo) and Jam Sta. Rosa (Marcos' photo) / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday congratulated Indonesian presidential candidate and incumbent defense minister Prabowo Subianto on his apparent landslide victory in the recent Indonesian elections.

Marcos joins other world leaders in extending their greetings to Prabowo, who had already declared a “victory for all Indonesians” last week and is poised to succeed the popular Indonesian leader Joko Widodo.

“My warmest congratulations to Defense Minister @prabowo on his commanding lead in the latest electoral count to be Indonesia’s next President,” Marcos said on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

Marcos said the Philippine government is looking forward to strengthening the bilateral ties between the Philippines and Indonesia, calling the latter the country’s close neighbor and partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.

“I look forward to deepening PH’s bilateral ties with Indonesia, a close neighbor and partner in ASEAN, most especially as we celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year,” Marcos said.

In response, Prabowo thanked Marcos in an X post and said he is looking forward to "continuing the strong friendship forged over the past 75 years" between both Southeast Asian nations.

Prabowo, who is accused of several human rights abuses, relied on campaign tactics that aimed to “rebrand” his image before Indonesians similar to Marcos’ campaign strategy in the 2022 polls, according to political science expert Richard Heydarian.

The incumbent defense minister is the former son-in-law of notorious Indonesian dictator Soeharto, who ruled over Indonesia for 32 years before stepping down in 1998 amid widespread student-led protests.  

Heydarian said in an X post that Prabowo took a page out of Marcos' "public relations" strategy by sanitizing his image on TikTok to capture support from younger audiences.

"Huge win among Gen Z voters, who saw more 'cute' & 'cuddly' rather than the strongman pedigree!" Heydarian said.

Indonesia’s unofficial count shows Prabowo and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of Widodo, won nearly 60% of the votes, handing him a likely victory with just one round of voting.

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