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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora