World

Joko declared leader, opponent protests result

Prabowo claims widespread cheating though observers say poll was free, fair

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo comfortably won re-election in last month's poll, an official count showed yesterday.

The win threw the spotlight on his opponent, Mr Prabowo Subianto, who refused to concede as his supporters gathered in the capital in protest against the result.

The General Election Commission (KPU) confirmed unofficial counts by private pollsters in the April 17 election, giving Mr Joko a 55.5 per cent share of votes against 44.5 per cent for Mr Prabowo.

But Mr Prabowo told reporters he believed there had been widespread cheating.

Mr Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the legal director of Mr Prabowo's campaign team, confirmed it planned to contest the result in the Constitutional Court.

Mr Prabowo, who had also lost to Mr Joko at the last presidential race in 2014, was defeated this time by more than double the votes he had garnered in that election.

"We will not accept KPU vote counting results as long as it is based on fraud," he said, referring to his camp's media briefing a week ago where he made allegations of vote-rigging and claimed his camp had gathered evidence to support his claims.

Mr Prabowo had claimed victory just hours after the polls closed and has repeatedly made allegations of electoral fraud.

On Monday, an election supervisory agency dismissed claims of systematic cheating, citing a lack of evidence, and independent observers have said the poll was free and fair.

Minor clashes were reported yesterday evening as police tried to disperse around 2,000 of Mr Prabowo's supporters who had gathered at the headquarters of the election supervisory agency (Bawaslu), an independent agency tasked to oversee elections and rule on disputes.

"We have a long struggle ahead of us to find the truth in this election," one of the protest leaders shouted.

There was also a small rally at the KPU in support of the election commission.

Security Minister Wiranto told a briefing there had been plans for "massive demonstrations to storm the KPU, Bawaslu, Parliament and the state palace".

He threatened severe punishment for criminal activity and vowed to maintain security, while denying the authorities were being draconian.

Mr Joko pledged yesterday to be a leader for all Indonesians.

"We are grateful and proud that amid our differences, we have been mature in keeping the peace," he said on a visit to a poor district of the capital. - REUTERS

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