Indonesia President Joko Widodo declares victory in presidential race

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared victory on Thursday in the race to lead the world’s third-largest democracy, saying unofficial results showed his ticket had got 54 percent of the popular vote in Wednesday’s election.

Widodo ran with Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin against former military general Prabowo Subianto, who secured 45 percent of votes, according to unofficial “quick counts” of sample votes by private pollsters.

“We must wait for the official result. But 12 pollsters have given clear results… we convey that the Jokowi-Maruf ticket got 54.5 percent of the vote while Prabowo got 45.5 percent,” Widodo told a news conference in south Jakarta.

Prabowo has also claimed victory, citing internal polls as showing he won 62 percent of the vote.

The General Election Commission’s website put him at about 45 percent early on Thursday based on results from 808 of more than 800,000 polling stations.

Widodo told reporters he had received congratulatory calls from 22 state leaders, including Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and he had invited his rival to meet.

Widodo also urged supporters to wait for official results to confirm the win.

At a separate news conference just minutes after Widodo declared victory, Prabowo appeared defiant and said his team had evidence of cheating and claimed to have won 62 percent of the popular vote based on internal polling.

“We have declared (victory) because we got evidence of widespread cheating at the village, sub-district and district levels across Indonesia,” he said, standing next to his running mate, Sandiaga Uno, who looked more subdued.

In 2014, Prabowo had also claimed victory on election day, before contesting the results at the Constitutional Court, which confirmed Widodo’s win.

A spokesman for Praboow said he would take his complaint to the Constitutional Court if the Election Commission confirmed Widodo’s victory.

The commission said earlier on its website Widodo had secured about 50 percent of the vote, based on results from 808 of more than 800,000 polling stations, with Prabowo on about 45 percent.

The English-language Jakarta Post newspaper carried a front-page headline declaring “Five More Years” next to a picture of the president.

Financial markets surged early on Thursday on Widodo’s apparent victory, though gains were pared in the afternoon. The rupiah currency ended the day up 0.3 percent from the previous close, and the Jakarta stock index – at one point up 2.4 percent – closed 0.4 percent higher.


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