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Prabowo is unlikely to go down without a fight

Jokowi calls on voters to unite as opposition claims victory.

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Updated: April 18, 2019

Quick counts show the incumbent Mr Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin in the lead in Indonesia’s presidential election, but their opponent Prabowo Subianto is unlikely to go down without a fight.

Mr Prabowo has maintained that exit polls conducted by his team at more than 5,000 polling stations point to him and his running mate Sandiaga Uno winning the presidential election.

In a quick address to the media, as well as supporters who broke out into chants of “President”, he said they had bested Mr Joko, winning more than 50 per cent of the vote.

He cited instances of voting booths opening at 11am instead of 7am, and cast doubt on the impartiality of some polling and survey agencies that had been tapped to conduct quick counts, saying they had worked with the other party to make it seem “as if we have lost”.

Mr Prabowo also urged his supporters to stay calm, and stay vigilant to ensure that the counting process was not compromised.

“I ask all volunteers to help guard our victory in all voting stations,” he said. “Continue to stand guard… The ballot boxes are the key to victory.”

There have been worries about possible unrest over the results of a tight presidential race that has divided a nation.

“I ask my supporters to stay calm and not be provoked. Don’t resort to anarchist behaviour,” said Mr Prabowo.

In a speech later in the day, Mr Prabowo told supporters outside his home in south Jakarta: “We have won and people are with us. We are part of the people. This is a victory for Indonesians. I will become the president of all Indonesian people… We will build an Indonesia that’s victorious, fair, prosperous, peaceful, respected by the world, an Indonesia where there are no hungry people.”

“Our battle is not in vain. We have no money, we don’t pay money to our witnesses, but the truth wins. We believe and we are certain that God is great and will help those who are right,” he added.

Mr Sandiaga has not been seen the close of the polls. “Mr Sandiaga has not been feeling well since afternoon, he’s been having hiccups till now. He is resting inside (Mr Prabowo’s residence),” campaign team member Yuga Aden told Indonesian news website Detikcom.

Meanwhile, Mr Joko appealed to voters to unite, nurture brotherhood and sisterhood after the election in a brief speech.

He acknowledged the quick count results, but quickly appealed to supporters to wait for the official vote counting by the KPU (General Election Commission).

“From the indications of exit polls and quick counts, we saw everything, but we should be patient and wait for the official count from the KPU,” Mr Joko said.

He thanked the military and police for securing the election.

Later, Mr Joko posted on Facebook: “My fellow citizens and countrymen. Alhamdulillah (All Praise to God), today Indonesia has held the 2019 General Election peacefully and safely. Thank you to everyone who has used their voting rights the best they can.”

“This year’s democracy party provides a lot of experience, learning, as well as challenges for us as a nation. Whatever the outcome, let’s maintain and care for our unity and brotherhood as a large and diverse nation,” he wrote.

“May Allah honour all our efforts to bring about progress of the Indonesian nation – our common home,” wrote Mr Jokowi on the social media website.

Mr Ali Nurdin, a political analyst at Mathla’ul Anwar University, noted that Mr Joko’s decision to refrain from claiming victory based on the quick count tallies stood in contrast to his reaction after the last election five years ago, when he embraced the projections.

“Last time, he wasn’t an incumbent. It was normal he was more assertive then. His position now is a symbol of a country, head of state. He has to show political maturity,” said Mr Ali.

“As the leader of Indonesia, once again Jokowi has uphill tasks going forward. He has to lead efforts to retain solidity among Indonesians that have been spoiled by divisions due to different political choices,” he said.

“This is why he has to be wise so as not to worsen such divisions,” he added.

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