In developed and developing nations alike, it’s become the norm that when you don’t like the results of a referendum or election you simply cry, ‘Foul!’
The Indonesian presidential election is only the latest example.
Former general Prabowo Subianto is already rallying his supporters to challenge the ‘quick count’ results from the election. The results show Indonesian President Joko Widodo appears set for a second term.
But his challenger, Prabowo claims he won the popular vote and is urging his supporters not to let victory be snatched away.
Widodo is the people’s choice
Widodo, who grew up in a slum, was the first national leader who wasn’t of the political or military elite. The former furniture businessman and low-key reformist had an ‘everyman’ persona that won over 2014 voters.
This time around, data from private pollsters showed another win for Widodo, which opinion polls also predicted.
According to RAW, in previous elections, the counts from reputable companies proved to be accurate. But Prabowo believes otherwise.
The former son-in-law of military strongman Suharto, who was overthrown in 1998, says that ‘quick count’ numbers and internet polls show that he had in fact gained between 52–54% of votes.
‘We have noted several incidents that have harmed the supporters of this ticket. The truth will win,’ he said.
This isn’t the first time Prabowo has made such a claim. In 2014, he claimed victory before results confirmed that Widodo was indeed the winner, to which Prabowo of course contested.
Widodo’s win not necessarily a victory
Likely to be safe rather than sorry, Widodo is urging voters to hold off celebrations and congratulations until the official results are announced.
And Kevin O’Rouke, a political analyst, says that even if the initial count is in fact correct, it still shouldn’t be considered a resounding victory.
At last count, the votes show Widodo winning the popular vote with about 54%, and obtaining a lead of between 7.1 and 11.6 percentage points over Prabowo.
According to O’Rouke, ‘he failed to attain the psychological 60 per cent level that had seemed within reach.’
‘Prabowo performed better than expected, which may embolden him to run yet again in 2024, if he is sufficiently fit.’
And having only narrowly been defeated in 2014 to come back this time around, it clearly isn’t out of character for Prabowo to do this.
Official results will be released in May. Any disputes can be taken to the Constitutional Court where a nine-judge panel will have two weeks to make a ruling.
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