Prabowo defies unofficial results to claim victory

Indonesian presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto has claimed victory in yesterday’s (Wednesday) election, despite unofficial results indicating a comfortable win for President Joko Widodo.

The financial markets rallied at the news of a win for the incumbent, raising expectations of a series of reforms in his second term.

The rupiah opened at around 14,000 per US dollar, up 0.57 per cent from the previous close and the benchmark 10-year government bond yields edged down to around 7.6 per cent.

Jakarta’s stock index rose by 1.5 per cent.

But Prabowo, a former special forces general, delivered a triumphant speech: “This is a victory for the Indonesian people … I will be the president for all Indonesians.”

The former son-in-law of dictator Suharto said an exit poll conducted by his team showed him in the lead with 62 per cent of the vote.

However, several Indonesian survey institutes say “Jokowi” has a lead by at least 9 percentage points.

The so-called “quick counts” from respected polling organisations use a sample of polling stations that have been reliable in previous elections. With an average of 80 per cent of sample polling stations counted, the five surveys showed the incumbent winning 54-56 per cent of the vote, an improvement on his 2014 showing.

Litbang Kompas said Jokowi had won 54.5 per cent of the vote with a sample size over 95 per cent.

The official results from the Indonesian election commission (KPU) are not expected until May and the body has warned both candidates to avoid claiming victory before the official results are released.

Prabowo’s vice-presidential running mate, Sandiaga Uno, 49, a wealthy former private equities manager, is believed to be eyeing a 2024 presidential bid. He was noticeably absent when Prabowo was declaring victory, although the team claimed he was feeling ill and had severe “hiccups”.

Prabowo also declared himself the rightful winner ahead of his 2014 presidential election defeat.

Thomas Rookmaaker of Fitch Ratings said a second term for Jokowi could include educational reforms, more flexible labour laws and smoother land acquisitions.

“The government’s appetite for pressing such far-reaching reforms remains uncertain, but early results in the vote counts point to sufficient support to deliver, given a small majority in parliament for the coalition that supported Jokowi going into these elections,” Rookmaaker reported


The Indonesian election presented logistical challenges. Picture credit: YouTube