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  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo displays an ink-stained finger after casting his ballots during elections in Jakarta.

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo displays an ink-stained finger after casting his ballots during elections in Jakarta. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 April 2019
Opinion

In anticipation of potential violent response, authorities have asked citizens to remain calm and have promised to respond to any unrest the confusion may incite.

Indonesia continues to fulfill its reputation for having complicated elections, as incumbent President Joko Widodo declared his victory despite the results being disputed by his opponent, ex-general Prabowo Subianto. 

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Prabowo attributed Widodo's victory to "widespread cheating" and claims to have proof of underhanded tactics. The former military man made the accusations after the government was compelled to launch an investigation, in Malaysia, concerning ballots in warehouses being marked in favor of the incumbent president, Widodo.

In anticipation of potential violent response, authorities have asked citizens to remain calm and have promised to respond to any unrest the confusion may incite. "If there are any illegal or unconstitutional actions that threaten public stability and security, [the authorities] will take firm action," the National Police Chief, Tito Karnavian, said. 

While "quick counts" conducted by polling companies signal an approximate 10% lead by Widodo, the official election results will not be available until May 22. 

And, though the results remain unofficially, leaders from over 20 countries have already congratulated Widodo on an alleged victory. In a press conference, Widodo based the win on ballots tallied from 12 polling stations, saying he had won with 54.5% of the votes.

Prabowo claimed to have won with 62% of the vote, and called Widodo's declaration of victory a distraction from the "widespread cheating at the village, sub-district and district levels across Indonesia." 

Widodo, on the other hand, has advised citizens to "patiently wait" for official results, and also added that the "quick counts" are extremely accurate. "We all know that the QC [quick count] calculation is a scientific calculation method. From the country's experiences of past elections, the accuracy is 99.9%, almost the same as real count results," Widodo stated.

Widodo's declaration of victory has also resulted in a surge in Indonesian stocks.

The electoral controversy is reminiscent of Indonesia's 2014 election, which came down to the same two candidates. Prabowo claimed to have won that election, accusing Widodo of fraud at the time as well. Prabowo's challenge of the results was ultimately rejected by the Constitutional Court. 

The most recent polls has been heavily centered on identity politics, specifically regarding the candidate religious credentials.

Indonesia houses the largest population of Muslims in the world.

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