Official Count Gives President Widodo Victory in Indonesian Election

May 21, 2019 Updated: May 21, 2019

Incumbent President Joko Widodo won last month’s Indonesian election with 55.5 percent of votes against 44.5 percent for his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto, the election commission’s official count said early on May 21.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

But a witness for Prabowo’s campaign team and the leading opposition party refused to sign and validate the official results, which were announced more than a day earlier than expected after the KPU worked into the early hours of Tuesday to finish the vote count.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto
Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto speaks to the media after polls closed in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 17, 2019. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

The losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court. Otherwise, the commission will officially declare the winner by May 28.

Prabowo has not yet confirmed if he intends to go to court, but his challenge to his 2014 defeat by Widodo was rejected.

Widodo won with over 85 million of the total 154 million votes cast in the world’s third-largest democracy. There was no immediate reaction from him or his campaign team.

Authorities have tightened security in anticipation of potential civil unrest and have detained dozens of terrorist Islamists suspected of planning attacks to create mayhem during demonstrations.

Police rolled out barbed wire and readied armored trucks and water cannons around the KPU. They have also prevented people from across Indonesia traveling to Jakarta en masse to join protests.

Indonesian protesters
Indonesian protesters (R), mainly supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, stage a demonstration against alleged voting fraud in the recent Indonesian election in Jakarta on May 10, 2019. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

National police, who report directly to Widodo, has also held or interrogated at least three leading opposition figures for suspected treason.

The streets outside the KPU were quiet immediately after the announcement.

Last week, police said they had detained about 30 suspected Islamic terrorists with ties to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), Indonesia’s largest extremist group linked to ISIS.

A woman looks at her ballot
A woman looks at her ballot during a revote due to logistical issues in the country’s general election in Banda Aceh on April 25, 2019. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images)
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