Indonesia election: PM Lee congratulates Jokowi on peaceful elections

JAKARTA • Incumbent Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who looks set to secure a second term, yesterday received a call from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulating him on the peaceful and successful conduct of Indonesia's first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections.

Indonesians headed to the polls on Wednesday to pick - for the first time in history - their president and MPs on the very same day. Wednesday's polls were the country's biggest round of elections yet.

In the call yesterday, PM Lee said that he looked forward to continued close cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia, the Singapore Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

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

The President, who goes by the popular moniker Jokowi, later told a press conference that he had received calls from PM Lee, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among others.

"They congratulated us on the implementation of this 'pesta demokrasi' (democracy fiesta) in our country," he said, referring to what Indonesians call their elections, which reflects the air of fun and celebration the country hopes to inject into its democratic process.

"They congratulated all the Indonesian people. And they also congratulated Jokowi-Ma'ruf for the success of the April 17 elections," he added.


Official results of the elections, which saw Mr Joko, who ran with senior Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin as his vice-presidential pick, 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, which came trickling in hours after polls closed on Wednesday, have given Mr Joko the edge.

In a brief video clip of Mr Joko's conversation that was uploaded on Detik, he was heard saying: "Yes, PM Lee. Thank you."

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, according to the site.

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 the first match-up between Mr Joko and Mr Prabowo in 2014, the quick-count results pointed to a victory for Mr Joko too. Official results later had Mr Joko winning 53.15 per cent of the votes to his rival's 46.85 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'PM Lee congratulates Jokowi on peaceful elections'. Print Edition | Subscribe