Jokowi welcomes rival's move to challenge poll result in court

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia tours a development project in Kutuh, a village on Bali, on May 17, 2019.
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia tours a development project in Kutuh, a village on Bali, on May 17, 2019. PHOTO: NYTIMES

JAKARTA • President Joko Widodo yesterday welcomed the decision by his rival Prabowo Subianto, whom he defeated in the April 17 polls with 55.5 per cent of the votes, to challenge the result of their election through the courts.

"I respect Pak Prabowo and Pak Sandiaga for taking their dispute over the presidential election to the Constitutional Court," said Mr Joko, referring also to Mr Prabowo's running mate Sandiaga Uno. "I am confident that the judges will rule based on the prevailing facts."

The comments by the President, better known as Jokowi, came a day after the General Elections Commission (KPU) gave its final tally of the vote count, which Mr Prabowo rejected after making repeated allegations of poll fraud and vote-rigging.

In a bid to calm the nation following tensions in the capital caused by protests mounted by Mr Prabowo's supporters against the KPU and election supervisory body Bawaslu yesterday, the President also said that the situation in Indonesia is "under control, and people should not be worried".

Mr Prabowo also called on his supporters not to resort to violence, and to respect the law. "I would like to urge those who are still willing to listen to me, my supporters - please refrain from committing physical violence," said Mr Prabowo, who spoke to the media alongside Mr Sandiaga at his South Jakarta home yesterday. The call for peace after a divisive election was echoed by other political leaders in Indonesia.

Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of former president and Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said after meeting Mr Joko at the Istana Bogor yesterday: "This means there is space for dialogue and communication." 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Jokowi welcomes rival's move to challenge poll result in court'. Print Edition | Subscribe