Indonesia: Hundreds Protest As President’s Re-Election Confirmed
By Staff, Agencies
Indonesian President Joko Widodo comfortably won re-election in last month's poll, an official count showed on Tuesday, throwing the spotlight on his opponent who refused to concede as his supporters gathered in the capital in protest at the result.
The General Election Commission [KPU] confirmed unofficial counts by private pollsters in the April 17 election, giving Widodo a 55.5% share of votes against 44.5% for Prabowo Subianto.
Widodo won more than 85 million votes of a total of 154 million cast in the world's third-largest democracy, but Prabowo told reporters he believed there had been widespread cheating and about 800 supporters gathered in a peaceful protest.
The retired general pledged he would "continue to make legal efforts in line with the constitution to defend the mandate of the people".
Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the legal director of Prabowo's campaign team, confirmed it planned to contest the result in the Constitutional Court.
The KPU announced official results more than a day earlier than expected after working into the early hours of Tuesday.
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.
Widodo pledged on Tuesday 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 neighborhood of the capital.
Ben Bland, director of the Southeast Asia Project at Lowy Institute, said the election showed how identity and religious politics appeared to be increasingly "embedded in the political discourse in Indonesia".
"The challenge for Jokowi is to try and find a way to defuse tensions," said Bland, using the president's nickname.
Authorities have tightened security in the capital in a bid to choke off any civil unrest and detained dozens of militants suspected of planning attacks. Police said they had held or interrogated at least three leading opposition figures for suspected treason.