Jokowi's lead at presidential race widens as elections commission completes nearly 70 per cent of vote count

The interim vote count is based on the official tabulation of almost 70 per cent of the total ballots cast at last month's presidential election, which saw a record turnout of voters.
The interim vote count is based on the official tabulation of almost 70 per cent of the total ballots cast at last month's presidential election, which saw a record turnout of voters.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

JAKARTA - The latest count by Indonesia's elections commission, as of Monday (May 6), shows President Joko Widodo with more than 13 million votes up on his rival Prabowo Subianto, stretching his lead to 56.3 per cent over the former general's 43.7 per cent after the April 17 polls.

The interim vote count is based on the official tabulation of almost 70 per cent of the total ballots cast at last month's presidential election, which saw a record turnout of voters.

Key electorates where there is still some way to go in the vote count are the capital Jakarta (59 per cent) and West Java (49 per cent) - the latter being the country's largest electorate with more than 30 million eligible voters.

But the General Election Commission (KPU), which has until May 22 to release the final results of the polls, has also made good progress in recent weeks, completing more than 70 per cent of the vote tallies in 26 of 34 provinces as it approaches the three-week mark since polls closed.

At the last presidential race in 2014, which was also contested by Mr Joko and Mr Prabowo, official results came out in two weeks.

The lull between Polling Day and the release of the full vote count has led to an uneasy tension in Indonesia, particularly with the campaign team of Mr Prabowo expected to challenge the results amid its allegations of electoral fraud.

The presidential hopeful is disputing early unofficial quick-count results by pollsters that showed the incumbent with 54 to 55 per cent of the votes, against his 45 to 46 per cent.

 
 
 

Mr Prabowo has also accused pollsters of being biased, adding that his campaign team's tally shows him winning the election with 62 per cent of the votes, while urging the KPU and the Bawaslu election supervisory body to ensure the polls were conducted fairly.

More than 192 million Indonesians were eligible to vote at the simultaneous polls, making them arguably the biggest single-day elections ever held in the world.

The surprise high turnout means possibly 80 per cent, or more than 150 million people, voted for the presidency and representatives in four other levels of government in Indonesia.

According to the KPU interim tally seen by The Straits Times on Monday, the KPU has completed tabulation of votes from more than 557,000 - or around 68.6 per cent - of the 813,350 polling stations across Indonesia.

The government has dismissed accusations that the election was rigged in favour of the President but there remains concerns of public unrest stemming from Mr Prabowo's allegations of electoral fraud.

The Indonesian military and police remain on alert, particularly in Jakarta where there have been fears of a repeat of the mass protest seen in the capital during the campaign leading up to the 2017 gubernatorial election.

Indonesia's Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu on Sunday called on supporters disappointed with the election results to refrain from mounting street rallies, adding that it was time for Indonesians to unite.

"This is a state based on (the rule of) law, there should not be any action conducted against the Constitution," said Mr Ryamizard on the sidelines of an event ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on Monday.