Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo rejects election result, vows to challenge it in Constitutional Court

Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto speaks to his supporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 19, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto on Tuesday (May 21) said he will not accept the election commission's (KPU) official result showing he lost to incumbent President Joko Widodo in last month's presidential election and plans to challenge it in the Constitutional Court, on the grounds of election fraud.

His comments came as Mr Joko expressed his desire to reach out to Mr Prabowo and his running-mate Sandiaga Uno in the spirit of democracy.

The election commission released its final tally of ballots for the April 17 vote earlier on Tuesday, which showed that Mr Joko, commonly known as Jokowi, had secured 55.5 per cent of the public vote against Mr Prabowo's 44.5 per cent.

According to the results, announced in the wee hours, Mr Joko and his vice-presidential candidate Ma'ruf Amin received 85,607,362 votes, or 11 percentage points more than the 68,650,239 votes cast for Mr Prabowo and his running-mate Sandiaga Uno.

The former army general, who also lost to Mr Joko in the last presidential race in 2014, was defeated this time by more than double the votes he had garnered in that election.

Mr Prabowo, speaking at a press conference, said: "We had given a chance to KPU to improve the whole process (of vote counting) so it would reflect an honest and fair election, but KPU did not follow this up. Therefore we, the No. 2 presidential pair, reject all vote tabulation for the presidential election that was announced in the early hours of May 21.

About the vote count, which was released a day ahead of schedule, he said: "We feel the timing of the announcement was awkward and out of ordinary."

The move to seek a legal avenue to contest the results of the election was made following appeals from political parties that supported Mr Prabowo's campaign, his camp said.

Mr Prabowo claimed victory just hours after the polls closed on election day, and has repeatedly made allegations of electoral fraud, saying his camp had gathered evidence to support his claims.

He has also called for public rallies to protest against the official results.

In his first remarks after the official results were released, Mr Joko said he intended to meet Mr Prabowo for talks.

"There was already a plan earlier since the April 17 (elections) to meet but we haven't, maybe because we have not found the time," Mr Joko told reporters, when asked whether he will be speaking to Mr Prabowo.

"But what is clear is that we want to continue to be friends, to keep our brotherly ties with Pak Prabowo, with Pak Sandiaga Uno, and all their supporters," he added.

Mr Joko, who was speaking to reporters alongside running mate Ma'ruf Amin during a visit to a neighbourhood in central Jakarta, also acknowledged the efforts of the KPU, elections supervisory body Bawaslu, the police and military to work together to ensure a peaceful election.

Mr Joko said: "I've said earlier that our people have matured as a democracy and that was evident in how the election on April 17 was run, so let us appreciate it.

"After our inauguration in October, we will be the president and vice-president of the people of Indonesia. We are the leaders and protectors of the people of Indonesia. We will work very hard to achieve social justice for all Indonesians."

Indonesia has tightened security in the capital Jakarta in recent days to prevent any civil unrest amid plans by Islamist groups to mount protests against the results at the KPU headquarters.

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The police have also detained dozens of militants and warned of a possible attack by terrorists loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who may be targeting its officers as well as people during street rallies.

Mr Priyo Budi Santoso - a politician from the Berkarya party, which supported the Prabowo ticket - said in the briefing conducted by his camp that he had received reports that the authorities have limited the movement of people travelling towards Jakarta to protest against KPU.

He said: "Members of the society were stopped and were not allowed to continue their journey towards Jakarta at the border in East Java, Central Java, Sumatra, Jambi, Madura, Tangerang. We are really concerned about this."

Mr Prabowo has three days to lodge a challenge in the court, before the election panel will officially declare the winner. His move in 2014 to challenge his defeat to Mr Joko was rejected.

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