PM Lee congratulates Indonesian President Joko on peaceful and successful conduct of elections

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a retreat in Bali in October 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a retreat in Bali in October 2018.PHOTO: MCI

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who looks set to secure a second term, received a call from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulating him on the peaceful and successful conduct of Indonesia's biggest round of elections yet, said Singapore's Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Indonesians headed to the polls on Wednesday (April 17) to pick - for the very first time in history - their president and MPs on the very same day.

In the call on Thursday afternoon, Mr Lee said that he looked forward to continued close cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia, said the PMO in a statement.

Local news site Detik said its reporter was in the midst of an interview with Mr Joko when a call - from Mr Lee, according to the President's aide - came in.

Mr Joko later told a press conference that he had received calls from Mr Lee, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Official results for the election, which saw Mr Joko squaring off against his old rival Prabowo Subianto, will be out next week at the earliest, but quick counts of sample votes by independent pollsters last night give the incumbent an edge of between 8 and 10 percentage points.

Mr Joko in a press conference on Thursday afternoon said that with quick count results for sample votes fully in, he and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin had garnered 54.5 per cent to their opponents' 45.5 per cent.

"Yes, PM Lee. Thank you," said Mr Joko over the phone, in a brief video clip that was also uploaded on Detik.

The site said the conversation, which was a few minutes long, also saw a discussion about the quick count results, with Mr Joko saying: "Yes, 99 per cent yes, Mr Lee." He was referring to the accuracy of the unofficial preliminary tallies.

 
 
 
 

Quick counts are conducted by independent pollsters, and the results - released hours after polling ends - have largely proved accurate in past elections, including in the 2014 presidential polls.

In that election - the first match-up between Mr Joko and Mr Prabowo - quick count results pointed to a victory for Mr Joko too. Official results later showed Mr Joko winning 53.15 per cent of the votes to his rival's 46.85 per cent.

While he declared victory based on the quick counts then, Mr Joko this time round has held off on doing so.

"We should be patient and wait for the official count from the KPU (Election Commission)," he said on Wednesday night.

Mr Prabowo, meanwhile, has rejected these preliminary results, claiming to be the victor instead.

On Wednesday night, he insisted that his team's "real count" showed him winning 62 per cent of the votes. This, he said, was based on votes taken from 320,000 polling stations - or about 40 per cent of the total number.

He told his supporters: "This is a victory for the Indonesian people... I will be and I am already the president of all Indonesians."