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Published: Wednesday July 16, 2014 MYT 4:40:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday July 16, 2014 MYT 4:41:22 PM

Indonesia's Jokowi leads with 80 pct of votes counted - private group

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Jakarta's populist governor looks set to become Indonesia's next president, according to a private tally of eighty percent of the votes cast, as his rival lashed out at critics, including the capital's biggest English-language newspaper.

The Elections Commission (KPU) is to officially announce the result on July 22, but a number of private groups are maintaining counts of the votes as they are published on the commission's website.

One such group, www.kawalpemilu.org, showed Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in front with 53 percent of the vote after 80 percent of the count.

"This is a crowd sourcing project based on open data released by the KPU," said Elisa Sutanudjaja, an administrator for kawalpemilu.org. "It's based on the official (tallies) uploaded by the KPU but... there are some technical problems like not all the documents are uploaded correctly."

KPU officials declined to comment on the reliability of the kawalpemilu.org website.

Several sample "quick counts" of the vote on July 9, issued shortly after polls closed, also gave Jokowi a narrow but convincing lead in the closest, and most acerbic, presidential election in the history of the world's third biggest democracy.

His rival, former special forces general Prabowo Subianto, has said quick counts by other private pollsters gave him the lead. Quick counts are tallies of votes by private polling firms at a sample of voting booths across the country and have proved accurate in the past.

But two of the pollsters showing a Prabowo win refused to be audited this week, a spokesman for the Association of Public Opinion Surveys told Reuters.

He said that six others, several of which have been reliable in the past, that predicted a Jokowi win had been audited and declared sound.

Both sides have suggested the other might try to cheat and there have been reports of irregularities in some areas. But analysts said the number of votes involved - about 130 million people cast ballots - would make it near impossible to fix the result.

Prabowo, who has faced repeated accusations of human rights abuses that he denies, has lashed out at media favouring his rival.

A video circulating on social media this week showed Prabowo criticizing the country's leading English daily for not printing his articles.

"Your newspaper is a jerk," Prabowo told a Jakarta Post reporter after refusing to answer her question at a news conference. "If Prabowo writes an article, it's not allowed to be published. That's not real democracy."

The newspaper had written an editorial ahead of the election, backing Jokowi.

His team has also lodged a defamation complaint against a U.S. journalist over an off-the-record interview in 2011 in which the ex-general is quoted as saying Indonesia was "not ready" for democracy.

(Additional reporting Dennys Kapa in Jakarta, Aubrey Belford in Bangkok; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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