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Indonesia's Post-Election Surveys to Face Audit

Election commission official Dedi Saidi, left, reads document stating the number of votes collected in ballot boxes, Bendungan Hilir, Jakarta, July 10, 2014.

The Indonesian Public Opinion Survey Association says it will audit results of several post-ballot surveys that show dramatically different results for the country's presidential election.

Shortly after the polls closed Wednesday, seven pollsters sampled the quick counts of polling stations and projected that Joko Widodo had won the election by four or five percent.

However, at least two pollsters did the same sampling and announced that Prabowo Subianto was victorious by one to five percent. The conflicting results have sparked controversy, and both men subsequently claimed victory.

Hamdi Muluk, chairman of the Board of Ethics Indonesian Public Opinion Survey Association, told VOA's Indonesian service that such differences would not occur if all of the pollsters used scientific standards and codes of conduct that uphold objectivity.

"It is essential to make sure that the democratic political process is not undermined by opportunistic agencies that try to manipulate quick counts for their own special interests," he said, adding that his group will audit the data and collection methods of each pollster and impose tough sanctions if any are found to have broken ethical standards.

He did not say what those sanctions might be.

Officials with the General Elections Commission (KPU) have asked all parties to await official results on July 22.

"It is the responsibility of the election commission to accurately count all votes up to the national level," said KPU Commissioner Juri Ardiantoro. "We have to see these quick counts as a way for the public to participate in the election process, and each polling agency needs to be accountable for what they make public."

Current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for calm, asking the public to refrain from mass public gatherings, and summoned the two candidates for talks.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.