Both presidential candidates claim victory

July 10, 2014 - 1:30:39 am
Indonesian presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto (left) and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo raise their hands as they both proclaim victory in the presidential election, in Jakarta yesterday. 

JAKARTA: Both candidates claimed victory in Indonesia’s presidential election yesterday, suggesting there could be a drawn out constitutional battle to decide who will next lead the world’s third-largest democracy.

Just a few hours after voting closed, Jakarta governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he had won, based on what are widely seen as independent quick counts of more than 90 percent of the votes. A victory for him would be seen as a triumph for a new breed of politician that has emerged in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, and increase the promise of reform in government. 

But ex-general Prabowo Subianto, the rival candidate seen as a representative of the old guard that flourished under decades of autocratic rule, pointed to a quick count by other pollsters naming him the winner. 

He did not name the pollsters but a check of seven agencies tallying the votes showed two put him ahead by between 1-2 percentage points. The other five showed a Jokowi win by around five percentage points. 

The quick counts are conducted by private agencies which collate vote tallies as they come out of each district. The results are not official, but quick counts by three non-partisan pollsters - CSIS, Kompas and Saifulmujani - showed a Jokowi win. 

Their predictions were accurate in the April presidential elections. 

The Election Commission will take about two weeks to declare the results officially and the new president is not due to take office until October 1.

Ahead of the vote, the two candidates had been neck and neck in opinion polls as Jokowi lost a huge early lead in the face of smear campaigns and a far more focused, and expensive, race for the presidency by his rival. 

“We are thankful that according to the quick count announcements, until now, they show that Jokowi-JK at this moment in the count have won,” Jokowi told reporters and jubilant supporters in south Jakarta. JK refers to his running mate Jusuf Kalla, who was a vice president in the first term of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 

His rival Prabowo countered about an hour later with the same claim. “(The quick counts) show that we, Prabowo-Hatta, have received the support and mandate from the people of Indonesia,” he told a rally in the capital, referring to his running mate Hatta Rajasa.                       Reuters

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