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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Asia

Jokowi wins, Prabowo alleges fraud

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

The reform-minded governor of teeming Jakarta, Joko Widodo, has comfortably won Indonesia's closely-fought presidential race against a controversial former general with deep roots in the era of strongman Suharto, final results showed yesterday.

Mr Joko, known by his nickname Jokowi, won around 53 per cent of the vote, compared with about 47 per cent for Prabowo Subianto, according to a final tally cited by local media in the world's third-biggest democracy.

Mr Joko netted 70.6 million votes, which was eight million more than his rival, who received over 62.2 million votes or 46.85 per cent, The Jakarta Post said.

Mr Widodo's victory caps a meteoric rise for the former furniture exporter, who was born in a riverbank slum.

The news came just hours after Mr Prabowo - who had also claimed victory in the election - alleged fraud and said he was withdrawing from the race.

Mr Prabowo, 62, had been widely expected to challenge the result in the Constitutional Court if he lost.

Speaking to reporters earlier in Jakarta, Mr Prabowo claimed there had been "a massive, structured and systematic fraud" in the election.

"The presidential election, organised by the (Election Commission), is not democratic," he told reporters, adding that the commission was "not fair or transparent".

Mr Joko, however, insisted that "everything was transparent, everything was open" during the election in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation. Independent analysts have said the polls have been largely free and fair.

Tensions have risen sharply since election day, as each side accused the other of seeking to tamper with the votes during the lengthy counting process across the world's biggest archipelago nation.

There were fears the tension could spark unrest in a country that was hit by repeated outbreaks of violence before then president Suharto's downfall in 1998, and more than 250,000 police officers were deployed across the country yesterday.

Security was particularly tight in Jakarta, with hundreds of police in riot gear stationed around the Election Commission headquarters, and roads around the centre of the capital were closed to traffic.

The police and politicians appealed for supporters not to take to the streets and, as of early evening, there was no sign of major demonstrations.

Despite Mr Prabowo's repeated accusations, the coalition backing him appeared to be falling apart in recent days, with several key members reportedly conceding defeat.

Even President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hinted on Monday that the former general should accept the result if he loses, saying: "Conceding defeat is noble."

Mr Joko will take office in October to serve a five-year term.


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