As Indonesia president heads for poll
win, police warn on security
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[April 18, 2019]
By Augustinus Beo Da Costa and Ed Davies
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President
Joko Widodo appeared on course on Thursday for a second term, based on
unofficial vote counts and despite the objections of his rival, while
police vowed firm action against any rallies that could disturb
Results from private pollsters who counted vote samples from Wednesday's
poll point to a comfortable win for Widodo, raising hopes for a splurge
of reforms in his second term.
The "quick counts" showed Widodo winning the popular vote with at least
54 percent, giving him a lead of around eight percentage points over
former general Prabowo Subianto, who was narrowly defeated by Widodo in
the election five years ago.
The counts from reputable pollsters have proved to be accurate in
previous elections, though the official result will not be announced
Prabowo, a former son-in-law of military strongman Suharto who was
overthrown in 1998, said on Wednesday he was not trailing Widodo and
believed his share of the vote was in a 52-54 percent range.
"We have noted several incidents that have harmed the supporters of this
ticket," Prabowo said, without giving detail.
With Prabowo's supporters planning to march in central Jakarta after
midday prayers on Friday, national police chief Tito Karnavian warned
"I appeal to anyone not to mobilize, whether to mobilize people to
celebrate victory or mobilize due to dissatisfaction," said Karnavian,
pledging firm action.
At the same news conference, chief security minister Wiranto called for
people to avoid "any act of anarchy that breaches the law" while waiting
for the official election result.
In 2014, Prabowo had also claimed victory on election day, before
contesting the results at the Constitutional Court, which confirmed
Widodo said on Wednesday the results indicated he had regained the
presidency of the world's fourth-most-populous nation, but urged
supporters to wait for the election commission to announce official
The front page of Indonesia's English-language Jakarta Post newspaper
carried the headline: "Five More Years" next to a picture of the
[to top of second column]
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo reacts after a quick count result
during the Indonesian elections in Jakarta, Indonesia April 17,
2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Financial markets rose before trimming gains with the rupiah
currency up 0.3 percent from the previous close and the Jakarta
stock index up 0.6 percent by midday.
Alexander Raymond Arifianto, a political analyst at the S.
Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, said
Widodo's margin of victory meant the opposition did not appear to
have a strong case to claim the election was stolen.
But he noted risks that Islamist supporters of the challenger,
including the hardline Alumni 212 movement, could hit the streets to
dispute the election.
"So Prabowo has no case, but the hardliners and Alumni 212 can
create lots of headaches for Jokowi if they go ahead with their
protest plan tomorrow and in future weeks," he said, referring to
president by his nickname.
Novel Bamukmin, a spokesman for Alumni 212, said the movement
planned a peaceful march after Friday prayers at Jakarta's Istiqlal
"We just want to bow down to express our gratitude in order that
this victory is recognized," he said, referring to Prabowo's claim
he won the election.
Islamist groups have in the past been able to mobilize tens of
thousands of supporters.
From late 2016, they organized a series of big protests against the
Jakarta governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the first ethnic-Chinese
Christian to hold the job, who was subsequently jailed for insulting
(Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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