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July 22, 2014

Widodo Wins Indonesia Presidential Election, Rival Alleges Fraud

by Kate Lamb

After a drawn-out election process and dual claims to the presidency, Indonesia has officially announced Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, as the country’s next president.

Widodo, an ex-furniture entrepreneur who won 53 percent of the vote, is expected to give a victory speech on Wednesday.

​​Despite the extremely tight presidential election, the coalition of  Widodo's rival, former army general Prabowo Subianto, has continued to fracture.

In an impassioned speech just hours before the official results were announced Tuesday, Subianto declared he was pulling out of the race.

Polling institutions previously called a Subianto win on election day but have refused to be audited.

Speaking to his supporters in East Jakarta, Subianto said the election was neither clean, nor fair and was tainted by widespread fraud.

"We use our constitutional right to reject this presidential election, which is legally flawed and therefore are withdrawing from the process," he said.

Subianto had been working toward becoming president for the past decade and previously said he would accept the official decision.

Weeks of counting

In a country where voting takes place on thousands of islands and ballots are checked at several levels before being sent to the national commission, it takes weeks before the final tally is announced.

​​After tabulating more than 130 million votes, the national elections body announced late Tuesday that Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla had won.

Widodo and Kalla, set to be inaugurated on October 20, will lead Indonesia for the next five years,

The election of 53-year-old Widodo will be the first Indonesian president with no ties to Suharto’s 32-year reign that ended in 1998.

Widodo's supporters hope he can usher in an era of change, transparency and clean governance, characteristics that propelled him to national prominence during his time as Jakarta governor.

After a decade in power, Indonesia’s current president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is stepping down after serving the maximum of two five-year terms.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country and Southeast Asia's biggest economy.