Prabowo Subianto, the retired army general who ran against President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the Indonesian presidential race on Wednesday, April 17, has declared victory in the country’s national election.

Accompanied by his running mate, businessman Sandiaga Uno, and representatives of the political parties that supported him, Subianto told a news conference at his home in Jakarta he won by 62% over the incumbent based on the votes they have recapitulated.

“Today, I, Prabowo Subianto, state that Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno and myself declare our victory as President and the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia for the period of 2019-2024,” he told reporters Thursday.

Quick count accuracy

The quick count results, however, refuted his claim. According to various survey agencies including Litbang Kompas, Indo Barometer, Charta Politika, Poltracking, Indikator and Cyrus Network, Jokowi and his running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, won by 53% to 55%, while Subianto and Uno only received 44% to 46% of the votes.

Arya Fernandes, a political researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), believes the quick count results of the 2019 presidential election is accurate. “We believe in the quick counts that are done by CSIS with Cyrus Network, as well as other survey agencies. In general, candidate number 1 (Jokowi and Ma’ruf) is leading,” he told VOA.

He adds the quick count results will not be very different with the final result from the General Election Commission (KPU), with a margin of error between 1% to 2%. According to Fernandes, the quick count is done with a strict scientific methodology and has been successful in showing the winner of the election since 2004, right after the voting is over.

“What they do is counting the result of sample polling stations, so the result is shown. It is unlikely to change and that’s why quick count is a reliable tool in determining who is winning,” he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Subianto’s campaign team, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, asks Subianto’s supporters not to trust the results of the quick counts performed by survey agencies. “Remain calm and be patient. Follow the process and supervise (the counting), we will ensure Prabowo-Sandi win,” he stated on Wednesday.

Dispute in Constitutional court?

Andre Rosiade, another spokesperson from Subianto’s team, said they are planning to file a petition to the Indonesian Constitutional Court if the real count result from the KPU is different with his team’s result.

“For example, if our real count (result) is different with the KPU, but we found massive and structured fraud, then it’s possible we will bring it to the Constitutional Court,” he said. Subianto also mentioned they have proof of various attempts for fraud which happened in villages, districts and cities in Indonesia.

Rosiade added that the campaign team is still waiting to receive the data from all over Indonesia. Nevertheless, Rosiade reiterates that the final decision on the presidential election result lies with the General Election Commission.

People look at voting information at a polling station during elections in Bo
People look at voting information at a polling station during elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019.

Official results expected in May

The official result will be released by the KPU on May 22 after manually counting the number of votes from 193 million people who went to 809,563 different polling stations. According to their website, as of today, the commission has recapitulated the data from more than 11,000 polling stations, which shows similar number with the quick count results, Jokowi is leading by 56%.

Fernandes believes it will be difficult to challenge the real count result done by the commission. They must have proof that fraudulent activities took place in one voting booth by looking at the physical evidence, such as the counting form on which each vote is recorded.

“If there is proof then it can be settled at the Constitutional Court. But if we look at the process of regional or general elections in the past, in 98% of the disputes usually the commission will win. Only in a few cases they recounted the votes, usually in smaller polling stations,” he said.

The chairman of General Election Comission, Arief Budiman, said the KPU has organized the 2019 presidential and legislative election transparently with many independent observer agencies involved in the process.

He asks the Indonesian people to wait for the official result.

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