Quick surge: A man walking next to a large screen featuring trade at the Stock Exchange in Jakarta. — AFP
JAKARTA: Indonesian presidential hopeful Joko Widodo urged his supporters to carefully monitor vote-counting in a bitterly fought election amid concerns about cheating, a day after both he and his rival declared victory.
Joko, the first serious presidential contender without roots in the era of dictator Suharto, is facing ex-general Prabowo Subianto in Indonesia’s tightest presidential race since the end of authoritarian rule in 1998.
Both candidates claimed to have won the poll in the world’s third-biggest democracy based on unofficial tallies, but Jakarta Governor Joko had the backing of more – and more credible – polling agencies.
Prabowo, who was a top military figure in the Suharto era, has said that the unofficial tallies are not conclusive.
Official results will not be released until July 22 due to the complexity of holding elections across the world’s biggest archipelago nation, and officials are undertaking the mammoth task of counting tens of millions of votes by hand.
Joko, also known by his nickname Jokowi, insists that he is the winner and has expressed concerns about vote fraud in a country where corruption is rife and bribery, especially in the public sector, is common.
The presidential election campaign has already been the dirtiest and most polarising in the young democracy, marked by a flood of smears, which Joko blamed for a rapid loss of his support ahead of polling day.
Speaking to journalists in the capital Jakarta, Joko called on volunteers and party members to “monitor and guard the process at polling stations”.
“I call on all parties not to interfere with the sincere aspirations of the Indonesian people,” he said.
Prabowo’s camp has also raised concerns about breaches of election rules, claiming that on election day, some TV stations were reporting Joko had a lead before polling closed.
Investors already believe that Joko, seen as a potential reformer and a clean leader in a graft-ridden country, is on course to win.
The Jakarta stock market surged 2.5% at the open yesterday and the rupiah rallied.
The market sunk slightly in afternoon trade and closed up at 1.46%.
Several polling agencies, which have accurately predicted the result of previous elections in Indonesia, gave Joko a lead of four to five percentage points.
Should he be declared the official winner, 53-year-old Joko is seen as likely to usher in a new style of leadership and consolidate democracy. — AFP