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Indonesian presidential candidates both claim wins

Both Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and former general Prabowo Subianto claimed victory in Indonesia's presidential elections on Wednesday.

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Joko Widodo decisively asserted his claim to Indonesia’s presidency in a speech to supporters last night which repudiated his opponent’s tactics and warned him not to tamper with the count.

Mr Joko and opponent Prabowo Subianto have both used quick counts of ballot papers carried out by private companies to claim victory in the poll.

Mr Prabowo again refused to concede in a late evening appearance on the TV station owned by his coalition partner. But he urged his supporters to “exercise patience, cool down” and respect the final count of the Electoral Commission.

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo gestures after voting in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo gestures after voting in Jakarta on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

ANU academic Ed Aspinall said Mr Joko’s claim to victory was legitimate, whereas Mr Prabowo’s was based on numbers from survey organisations that were “rather disreputable outfits” which had “a history of inflating” Mr Prabowo’s numbers.

As evening fell on election day, Mr Joko went to the symbolically important Proclamation Monument, built on the site where Indonesia’s first president Sukarno declared republic independent of the Dutch in 1945, and announced his victory to screaming supporters.

He began his speech by saying that all the six survey organisations which showed him as the winner — by around a 52 to 48 per cent margin — were “accurate” and had been accepted by all parties in the past.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto speaks to the media after voting on Wednesday. He and his rival Joko Widodo have claimed victory.

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto speaks to the media after voting on Wednesday. He and his rival Joko Widodo have claimed victory. Photo: AFP

Then he spoke as the president-elect.

“Today, Indonesia has decided its course. All of us want a better Indonesia. An Indonesia in which people are healthy, people are smart, civilised, prosperous, and enjoy justice,” he said.

“Today, a new history has been made: a new chapter for Indonesia … this is a victory for the Indonesian people.”

Mr Joko, who has spent most of the campaign avoiding any criticism of Mr Prabowo, then subtly criticised his opponents campaign tactics, which involved paying large numbers of people to attend rallies, and offering financial inducements, or even ministries in his government, to groups in return for expressions of support.

“The real victory is of the people and has been achieved through participation, not through mass mobilisation. It was achieved through hard work, day and night, not by promising rewards,” Mr Joko said.

He urged his supporters not to relax, and to “guard” the rest of the counting leading to the announcement of the official result, which the election commission has said will be available on July 22, in case anything left a “stain” on the will of the people.

Mr Joko thanked his opponents, saying Mr Prabowo and running mate Hatta Rajasa were “patriots” who would “still contribute to Indonesia”.

In his speech, Mr Prabowo again hinted at a xenophobic thread running through his campaign, saying, “The truth cannot be bought by any nation … our power cannot be hired out to foreign powers”.

He said his supporters should maintain their strength, but “be patient, abide by the law, try to be polite”.

“We don’t need to show off; the real patriot does not need to show off. A strong man does not need to show off,” Mr Prabowo said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Joko and his political patron, Megawati Sukarnoputri, of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, had declared less than two hours after polling booths closed that they were confident of victory.

Mr Joko’s mother Sujiatmi Notomiharjo came on shortly afterwards saying in the Javanese language, “Do your duties wisely, now that you've become president, son”.

But about an hour later, Mr Prabowo, more equivocally, also claimed victory.

Mr Prabowo told supporters: “We are grateful that from all the incoming data, we … received the support and mandate of the people. But we will wait until all the data comes in, and after 90 per cent of the data comes in, we will declare our position”.

Worryingly for those who hoped the election might produce a clear result and a peaceful process, both men asked their supporters to “guard” the voting process.

“We ask all members of the coalition parties, the red and white coalition, to guard this victory until the KPU [the election commission] announces the official result,” Mr Prabowo said.

Local reports suggest Mr Prabowo has trained more than 1000 paid scrutineers at his ranch near Jakarta, and deployed them around Indonesia this week.

Dr Aspinall said it was a “major concern” that Mr Prabowo might try to manipulate the count and “bribe or coerce their way into power”.

However, he said with the release of credible polls, that would be difficult to achieve.

Mr Prabowo’s supporters made the best of their claim to victory, but, in contrast to the unrestrained joy at Mr Joko’s speech, Mr Prabowo’s supporters looked grim-faced.

A quick count by company, LSI, showed Mr Joko and running mate Jusuf Kalla with 53.38 per cent of the vote against opponent Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa with 46.62 per cent. CSIS had Mr Joko up 52.2 per cent to 47.8 per cent.
On the streets of Jakarta earlier in the day, voters said they had picked either Mr Prabowo for his toughness, or Mr Joko as the man of the people.

“Jokowi is for the people, a leader who is born from the people and he's for the people,” said Hery Wijaya, sitting with friends in inner-city Glodok.

“I voted for Prabowo because I know Prabowo follows Suharto,” says Tanah Abang market stallholder Eti. “He's firm, he's military. I want Indonesia to revive, be spirited, not just lame, so I want a firm leader, not a lame one.”