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Pollsters Challenge Prabowo Camp to Back Up Election Victory Claims

Robert Wardi & Telly Nathalia
April 20, 2019 | 10:25 pm
A member of the public accessing the website of the General Elections Commission (KPU). (JG Photo)
A member of the public accessing the website of the General Elections Commission (KPU). (JG Photo)

Jakarta. The Public Opinion Survey Association, or Persepi, challenged presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his campaign team on Saturday to prove his claims of victory in the 2019 presidential election, which contradict the results of all other quick counts conducted by the organization's members.

Prabowo has claimed victory on at least three occasions since the April 17 election and called on his supporters not to trust the quick-count results published by a dozen pollsters, which all show a win for the incumbent, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, and his running mate, Ma'ruf Amin.

During one of his victory claims, the former Army general said this was based on internal data compiled by his campaign team, which showed that he had won 62 percent of the vote in the "real count."

"We are ready to expose the source of our data. However, we hope Prabowo's camp can also show [us] which pollsters they have used as reference. Are they ready to open access to their data?" Persepi secretary general Yunarto Wijaya said at a press conference in Jakarta, as reported by Suara Pembaruan. Yunarto is also the executive director of pollster Charta Politica.

The national campaign team of Prabowo and his running mate, Sandiaga Uno, reported six pollsters to the General Elections Commission (KPU) on April 18, accusing them of having published quick-count results that were misleading and dangerous to public opinion.

KPU chairman Arief Budiman said the agency would review the report and added that only registered and verified pollsters may conduct and publish quick-count results.

Forty research agencies have registered with the KPU for this year's simultaneous presidential and legislative elections.

"Quick-count activity is legal. It is acknowledged by the Election Law," Persepi chairman Philips Vermonte said in a statement.

He dismissed allegations by the Prabowo camp that the association's members had manipulated the data or used the wrong methodology to determine the quick-count results.

"We will open our data if we are asked. Now, we want the party asking us to open our data to also open its data," said Vermonte, who is also executive director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Eight Persepi members – Indikator, Charta Politica, Populi Center, Saiful Mudjani Research Center, Indonesia Survey Circle, CSIS, Indobarometer and Pol-Tracking – presented their data to the public on Saturday to explain the methodologies they had used to conduct the quick counts.

Their surveys show Jokowi-Ma'ruf winning between 54 percent and 55 percent of the vote, while rival pair Prabowo-Sandiaga won between 44 percent and 45 percent.

These results are based on data collected from a sample of between 2,000 and 3,000 polling stations nationwide, from a total of about 813,000.

PDI-P Performs Its Own Real Count

The ruling Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) told the media on Friday that it uses an internal mechanism to perform a real count.

It has a counting room in each district branch office across Indonesia that records election data on the ground, in real time.

These counting rooms are equipped with between 50 and 400 computers, depending on the number of voters in the district.

The party has received data based on more than 10.6 million votes counted as of Friday afternoon. This allows it to have accurate information, including the number of seats it has won on each level of government. The PDI-P is the main backer of Jokowi-Ma'ruf.

"We have the data and infrastructure. If another party claims to have won 62 percent of the vote in the presidential election, can it show us the evidence?" PDI-P secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto said, as reported by

He urged all parties to wait until May 22, when the KPU will announce the official result.

The KPU had counted 5.77 percent of the ballots by Saturday evening, which showed 54.85 percent of the vote in favor of Jokowi-Ma'ruf and 45.15 percent for Prabowo-Sandiaga.

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