Prabowo Subianto has again refused to concede election defeat after quick-count results showed that he had lost against the incumbent, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)

Prabowo Accuses Pollsters of Manipulating Quick-Count Results; Jokowi Calls for Unity


APRIL 17, 2019

Jakarta. Prabowo Subianto has claimed victory in Wednesday's presidential election, based on internal data compiled by his campaign team, while accusing pollsters of having manipulated exit poll data to show a win for his opponent, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who has made a victory speech in typical Javanese style, and called for national unity.

This is a repeat of the actions of the former chief of the Indonesian Military's Special Forces Command (Kopassus) after the 2014 election, when it took him nearly three months to finally concede defeat, when the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the official result. During the previous election, he even bowed down to the ground in gratitude to God for his "victory."

"I am concerned that there are many incidents that have disadvantaged supporters of [candidate number] two. There were many occurrences where ballot boxes didn't arrive; polling stations only opened at 11 a.m.; and many other things," he said at a press conference at the house of his late father, Soemitro Djojohadikusumo – an economist under former President Suharto's New Order regime – on Jalan Kertanegara in South Jakarta.

"There are also many cases where ballots had been marked in favor of [candidate number] one," the former strongman during Suharto's authoritarian regime added, referring to his opponent's number on the ballot paper.

Voting officially started at 7 a.m. in each of Indonesia's three time zones and polling stations closed at 1 p.m., when vote counting commenced.

Accusing Pollsters

Prabowo, who has participated in four presidential elections since 2004, said exit-poll data collected by his team showed him winning at 5,000 polling stations, with 55 percent of the vote in his favor. He added that the quick-count result, also compiled by his team, showed that he had won 52.2 percent of the vote.

"All volunteers, please guard our victory at all polling stations. To all the Indonesian people, I am highlighting that there have been efforts by some pollsters, who are known to us, to frame the data in such a way to show that we have lost," said Prabowo, who in 2009 was the running mate of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the incumbent at the time. The pair lost to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his then-running mate, Jusuf Kalla.

Still, Prabowo called on his supporters not to be provoked into taking irresponsible actions, or to break the law. "Keep focusing on guarding the ballot boxes, because they are the key to our victory, so that the tricks can be fought," he said, repeating a previous call on supporters to remain peaceful.

Several quick counts by registered pollsters, which randomly sampled election results, also showed Jokowi attracting almost 55 percent of the vote, versus 45 percent for Prabowo.

Javanese-Style Victory Speech

Presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and his running mate, Ma'ruf Amin. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
Presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and his running mate, Ma'ruf Amin. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Separately, in his victory speech, Jokowi called all on his supporters to patiently wait for the official results, despite various quick counts showing that he had won.

"We have seen all of them [the quick-count results], but we must be patient and wait for the official result from the KPU," he said in a polite, typically Javanese way to express gratitude as the winner, while being careful not to slight his opponent.

The incumbent president also urged all Indonesians to unite as a nation.

"Let us be united again as a family from one land and water, to maintain unity and our brotherhood," he said.

Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, along with the leaders of supporting political parties, senior members of his national campaign team and incumbent Vice President Jusuf Kalla, were monitoring the quick counts at the historic Djakarta Theater building in Central Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon before he made his victory speech.