News / Asia

Likely Loser in Indonesia Presidential Election Says Won't Accept Result Yet

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures after a meeting with members of his coalition in a hotel in Jakarta, July 20, 2014.
Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures after a meeting with members of his coalition in a hotel in Jakarta, July 20, 2014.
Reuters

The Indonesian ex-general widely thought to have narrowly lost this month's bitterly contested presidential election will not accept the official result until allegations of cheating are investigated, one of his top aides said on Sunday.

The rejection is certain to raise concerns of a protracted wrangle that could undermine confidence in Southeast Asia's biggest economy, or even trigger violence that has so far been almost entirely absent from this election.

By law, the Elections Commission (KPU) must announce the result by July 22.

One commissioner told Reuters there was no need to delay the result announcement.

After the Prabowo Subianto camp previously insisted that it would abide by the KPU's official result of the July 9 election, it suddenly accused it of failing to properly investigate alleged cheating at the polls.

"If they don't, then that is a crime. This very much calls into question the legitimacy of the whole process," the former special forces commander told a hastily called news conference in a Jakarta hotel after meeting his key coalition partners.

Vice secretary general of Prabowo's Gerindra party, Fadli Zon, said there was evidence of many instances of cheating.

"We ask the election committee to solve this problem with recounting," Zon said. "We will not accept [the result]," he said, demanding the announcement be delayed until the problem was resolved.

Asked if he was challenging the credibility of the Elections Commission, Zon said: "Yes, of course."

The Prabowo camp has sounded an increasingly shrill note in the wake of the election, accusing his opponent, Jakarta governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, of jumping the gun by claiming victory shortly after the polls closed.

Both camps have suggested the other was cheating.

However, independent election watchers have praised the Elections Commission for its handling of polling and the transparency during the nearly two-week counting process.

"So it's just too much, it's excessive to say that the KPU is not credible. In fact we have built our credibility with transparency," KPU commissioner Sigit Pamungkas told Reuters.

"So far the counting process is going according to schedule. We have not thought about postponing or making a new rule that alters our schedule."

Quick counts

Jokowi's claim of victory was based on quick counts of a sampling of the about 130 million votes by private pollsters and which have been accurate in the past. Several polls showed Jokowi had won by about five percentage points.

Prabowo has countered that other quick counts show he won. However, two of those pollsters have refused to allow their counts to be audited.

Once the Elections Commission does announce the result, the candidates can challenge it in the Constitutional Court which would likely mean weeks of further delays in formally announcing a new president who would take over in October.

Signaling his concern, outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, before a dinner at the presidential palace on Monday night to which he invited both candidates, called for a peaceful end to the election of the next leader of the world's third largest democracy.

"I urge all the people of Indonesia to safeguard the final chapter of the election process," said Yudhoyono who is coming to the end of his second five-year term.

Indonesia, a member of the G-20 group of nations, was swept by bloodshed in which hundreds of people were killed when strongman ruler Suharto was forced to step down in 1998 after more than three decades in power.

It has since made a slow transition to full democracy, with this only its third direct presidential election.

Analysts said Prabowo would find it difficult to provide the necessary evidence to justify delaying the election results.

Suspected problems at polling stations appear to have been relatively small. Some analysts calculate it would need a change in up to seven million votes to hand Prabowo victory.

"Prabowo's team would need to have some idea of how the irregularities added up to justify asking the [Elections Commission] not to release the election result," said Paul Rowland, a Jakarta-based political analyst.

"The problems with the counting process and even intimidation or violence on election day have been relatively insignificant," he said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs