The reform-minded governor of teeming Jakarta, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has comfortably won Indonesia’s closely fought presidential race against a controversial ex-general with deep roots in the era of strongman Suharto, final results showed yesterday.
Jokowi won about 53 percent of the vote compared to about 47 percent for former general Prabowo Subianto, according to a final tally cited by local media.
The official announcement of the result of the July 9 election was expected later yesterday.
Final results showed that Jokowi won 70,997,859 votes, or 53.15 percent of the nearly 133 million valid ballots cast, while Subianto won 62,576,444 votes, or 46.85 percent.
Voter turnout was 70.7 percent.
Jokowi’s victory caps a meteoric rise for the former furniture exporter who was born in a riverbank slum. It will be welcomed by investors who hope he can breathe new life into Southeast Asia’s biggest economy after a recent slowdown.
Voters faced a stark choice between the 53-year-old Jokowi, from a new breed of politicians without links to the autocratic Suharto era, and Prabowo, a figure from the old guard with a checkered human rights record.
The news came just hours after Prabowo — who had also claimed victory in the election — alleged fraud and said he was withdrawing from the counting process.
“We are not withdrawing from the election process, but we have withdrawn from the vote tabulation process,” Aryo Djojohadikusumo, a lawmaker with Prabowo’s Gerindra party and the general’s nephew, told Reuters.
He was clarifying earlier comments to Reuters that his uncle was withdrawing from the election, leaving Jokowi as the sole candidate
Prabowo, 62, had been widely expected to challenge the result in the Constitutional Court if he lost, but a spokesman for his team said this was no longer an option.
Election Commission spokesman Hadar Gumay said the withdrawal of Prabowo’s team would not affect the legitimacy of the election process.
“We are almost done ... and close to announcing. This doesn’t mean that we have to redo the election,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference earlier in the day in Jakarta, Prabowo said there had been “a massive, structured and systematic fraud” in the elections.
“The presidential election, organized by the [Election Commission], is not democratic,” he told reporters, adding the commission was “not fair or transparent.”
Independent analysts have said the poll has been largely free and fair.
Tensions have risen sharply since election day as each side accused the other of seeking to tamper with the votes during the lengthy counting process.
There were fears the tension could spark unrest and more than 250,000 police were deployed across the country yesterday. Security was particularly tight in the capital, Jakarta, with hundreds of police in riot gear stationed around the election commission headquarters, and roads around the center of the capital closed to traffic.
However, police and politicians appealed for supporters not to take to the streets and by early evening there was no sign of major demonstrations.
Additional reporting by AP and Reuters