Prabowo-Gibran lead Indonesian presidential race, based on quick counts of sample votes

A worker checks a large screen showing Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and Vice President candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka where the results of the elections will be displayed in Jakarta. - Reuters

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka are ahead of their rivals in the Feb 14 polls, unofficial quick counts of sample ballots showed.

At around 4pm Singapore time, polling agency Indikator Politik Indonesia gave the Prabowo-Gibran pair 59.55 per cent of the votes, based on 24.1 per cent of sample votes counted.

Former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and senior politician Muhaimin Iskandar captured 23.5 per cent of the votes, while former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and former law and security minister Mahfud MD won 16.96 per cent.

Research institute Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI) said the Prabowo-Gibran team won 58.15 per cent of the votes, based on 23.7 per cent of sample ballots counted. The Anies-Muhaimin pair garnered 23.57 per cent, while the Ganjar-Mahfud team secured 18.29 per cent.

Pollster Poltracking Indonesia also put the Prabowo-Gibran pair ahead of the rivals, with 60.52 per cent of the votes, based on 35.6 per cent of sample ballots counted. The Anies-Muhaimin team had 21.14 per cent and the Ganjar-Mahfud team garnered 18.33 per cent.

Current defence minister Prabowo, who is a former special forces lieutenant-general, has been touted as the front-runner in various electability surveys.

Indonesian law states that a presidential candidate needs a simple majority – or more than 50 per cent – of the votes to win. They also need to attain at least 20 per cent of the votes in half of Indonesia’s 38 provinces.

If that does not happen, the top two pairs of candidates will enter a run-off vote in June, with the third pair eliminated.

Prabowo, whose running mate Gibran is President Joko Widodo’s son, has vowed to continue Widodo’s development programmes and legacy projects, including the planned relocation of the administrative capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

Ganjar has promised to improve the president’s policies in education and healthcare, while Anies has said he would review and roll back some programmes such the capital relocation.

Millions of Indonesians cast their ballots earlier on Feb 14 to elect not only a president and a vice-president, but also parliamentary and local representatives. In the legislative poll, thousands of lawmaker hopefuls seek to fill 580 seats in the national Parliament known as the House of Representatives, and around 20,000 seats at the regional level.

These ballots will be first tallied at the local district levels before being recounted at the national level for both presidential and legislative elections.

Under Indonesia’s elections law, the vote counting process may take up to 35 days to be completed, given the large number of eligible voters of around 205 million and the vast territory. The General Elections Commission has said official results are expected to be released by March 20 at the latest.

Official results are not expected to differ significantly from quick count tallies.

Since they were first introduced during the inaugural presidential election in 1999, quick counts conducted by polling agencies and research institutions have become an alternative credible method to predict the results in the world’s biggest single-day elections.

Thousands of field workers and volunteers have been deployed to polling stations in 38 provinces nationwide to take vote samples.

By law, early vote sampling counts can only be announced two hours after polls close in western Indonesia, where Jakarta is located, or 3pm local time (4pm Singapore time).

Widodo defeated Prabowo in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections. For his re-election in 2019, Widodo secured 55.5 per cent of the votes against Prabowo’s 44.5 per cent. The latter’s protest over the result led to two days of deadly riots in Jakarta, claiming at least eight lives and leaving hundreds more injured. - The Straits Times/ANN

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