Widodo wins Indonesian presidency, but doubts remain as rival vows supporters 'will not remain silent' | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 6, 2015
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INDONESIA

Widodo wins Indonesian presidency, but doubts remain as rival vows supporters 'will not remain silent'

Country elects its first president without links to its autocratic past, but rival questions poll and vows supporters 'will not remain silent'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 12:24pm

Uncertainty hung over the Indonesian presidential election after Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo was declared the winner of the closely-fought race, hours after his rival and former general Prabowo Subianto withdrew from the contest, condemning the poll as fraudulent.

We reject the 2014 presidential election, which is illegitimate
PRABOWO, SPEAKING BEFORE THE RESULTS WERE ANNOUNCED

Widodo won 53 per cent of the vote compared to 47 per cent for Prabowo, according to the election commission in the world's third-largest democracy.

Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's term ends on October 20.

The election commission announcement came after a dramatic final day to the country's most divisive election period since the end of the Suharto era in 1998, with Prabowo angrily accusing Widodo's team of committing fraud and announcing his withdrawal from the race.

Prabowo's move raises the prospect of uncertainty, including a potential constitutional court challenge.

"This is a victory for all Indonesian people," Widodo, said in a televised speech. "We hope this victory will pave the way to build Indonesia to be an independent economy."

Social media was abuzz with comments congratulating Widodo, nicknamed Jokowi. "Indonesia will be a better nation under Jokowi, God bless," wrote one Twitter user with the name Prettyinpink69.

Watch: Reform-minded governor wins Indonesian presidential race

But there was an equal amount of anger directed at Prabowo - who has admitted the abduction of democracy activists back in the 1990s and was once married to one of dictator Suharto's daughters - for his refusal to concede defeat. "Almost bored to death watching cry baby Prabowo whining," tweeted Husein Soebagyo.

"We reject the 2014 presidential election, which is illegitimate, and therefore we withdraw from the ongoing process," Prabowo said before the results were announced. But he urged his supporters not to use violence in fighting for their cause.

It was not clear what Prabowo's next step would be following his defeat. To avoid any clash, Widodo also called on his supporters not to take to the streets.

Xu Liping, an expert on China's relations in Southeast Asia at the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China would be monitoring the situation as instability could affect its investment in the country. Another area of concern, he said, was the safety of Indonesian Chinese should riots ensue.

Zhang Mingliang, an expert in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University in Guangzhou, said he would expect a tougher stance on the Natuna islands, which China and Indonesia both claim, as both candidates had expressed intentions to step up the Indonesian military presence there.

Agence France-Presse, Kyodo, Reuters

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