JAKARTA - Indonesia's former special forces general Prabowo Subianto declared victory in the presidential election shortly after his rival Joko Widodo made the same claim, with a Prabowo aide saying they were ready to argue their case at the election commission.
“Based on the information from the quick count - from the pollsters we think are accurate - and from all information that has come in from the field, (it) shows that we, Prabowo-Hatta, has got the support and mandate from Indonesian people,’’ Prabowo said in a 4-minute statement on Wednesday, flanked by his coalition partners.
“Thank you for the faith you put in us, in the red-white coalition of Prabowo-Hatta," he said, referring to his running mate Hatta Rajasa.
His comments came after the Jakarta governor, popularly known as Jokowi, claimed victory based on quick counts of votes by several pollsters. The quick counts gave him a clear five percentage point-lead over Prabowo.
Official results will be announced only on July 21 or 22.
"We are ready to argue our case at the Election Commission (KPU)," said Prabowo's national campaign chief, Dr Mahfud MD.
Campaign spokesman and senior Golkar politician Tantowi Yahya told reporters that "quick count results are not official and shouldn't be used to seize victory", adding that they would wait for KPU to complete the count on June 22.
When asked about Prabowo's claim of victory, Jokowi's campaign spokesman Anies Baswedan said: "What is their basis? All the credible pollsters said Jokowi led by about 5 per cent."
Up to 190 million Indonesians were registered to vote in Wednesday's elections. The battle has been a bruising one, pitting Jokowi, who rose to prominence on his record of good governance, consultation and transparency, against Prabowo, a former general whose promise of firm, decisive leadership held enough appeal to whittle down his rival's once commanding lead to a hair's breadth.
The last survey released by pollster Saiful Mujani on Tuesday showed a wafer-thin 2.7 percentage points between the two rivals.
Additional reporting by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja