(Corrects number of quick count polls in para 4)
By Wilda Asmarini and Kanupriya Kapoor
JAKARTA, July 9 Both candidates claimed victory
in Indonesia's presidential election on Wednesday, suggesting
there could be a drawn out constitutional battle to decide who
will next lead the world's third-largest democracy.
Just a few hours after voting closed, Jakarta governor Joko
"Jokowi" Widodo said he had won, based on what are widely seen
as independent quick counts of more than 90 percent of the
votes. A victory for him would be seen as a triumph for a new
breed of politician that has emerged in Southeast Asia's biggest
economy, and increase the promise of reform in government.
But ex-general Prabowo Subianto, the rival candidate seen as
a representative of the old guard that flourished under decades
of autocratic rule, pointed to a quick count by other pollsters
naming him the winner.
He did not name the pollsters but a check by Reuters of
seven agencies tallying the votes showed two put him ahead by
between 1-2 percentage points. The other five showed a Jokowi
win by around five percentage points.
The quick counts are conducted by private agencies which
collate vote tallies as they come out of each district. The
results are not official, but quick counts by three non-partisan
pollsters - CSIS, Kompas and Saifulmujani - showed a Jokowi win.
Their predictions were accurate in the April presidential
The Election Commission will take about two weeks to declare
the results officially and the new president is not due to take
office until Oct. 1.
Ahead of the vote, the two candidates had been neck and neck
in opinion polls as Jokowi lost a huge early lead in the face of
smear campaigns and a far more focused, and expensive, race for
the presidency by his rival.
"We are thankful that according to the quick count
announcements, until now, they show that Jokowi-JK at this
moment in the count have won," Jokowi told reporters and
jubilant supporters in south Jakarta. JK refers to his running
mate Jusuf Kalla, who was a vice president in the first term of
outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
His rival Prabowo countered about an hour later with the
"(The quick counts) show that we, Prabowo-Hatta, have
received the support and mandate from the people of Indonesia,"
he told a rally in the capital, referring to his running mate
There have been concerns of violence once the result is
known, a worry alluded to by outgoing President Yudhoyono when
he urged both sides to accept the result. But there were no
reports of any violence during the voting and in the early hours
It has been the dirtiest and most confrontational campaign
in memory in a country which traditionally holds up the value of
After the official result is declared, candidates can
challenge the results in the Constitutional Court, the final
arbiter over contested polls.
The Court's reputation has been badly tarnished after its
chief was sentenced to jail for life this month for corruption.
"There have always been challenges...So we could end up with
delayed certainty for a few weeks," Douglas Ramage, a
Jakarta-based political analyst told Reuters.
The government declared Wednesday a public holiday and
markets were closed although the rupiah currency hit a
seven-week high against the dollar in offshore markets on
Jokowi's victory claim.
His clean image is seen likely to bring in more foreign
investment as he seeks to correct Indonesia's reputation of
But any euphoria in the market could quickly evaporate if
the stalemate over the result is not quickly resolved.
"This is one of the most important elections in Indonesia's
reformation history," Bernard Wanandi, 37, said at a polling
station in Menteng, a Jakarta suburb. "As a young generation, we
have high expectations of the new leader, hoping he will bring
the country forward and change the country tremendously."
The election is being held during the Islamic holy month of
Ramadan, in the country with the world's biggest population of
There has been growing frustration in recent years over the
way Indonesia has been governed, with corruption rampant and
It is a sentiment both candidates have addressed in their
campaigns, although they offer starkly different personalities.
Jokowi, 53 and born into poverty, has stormed his way to the
top rungs of leadership with a clean image and a reputation for
competence in local government, a reversal of the autocracy,
corruption and power politics that have weighed down Indonesia
Prabowo, 62, ran on the promise of strong, tough
leadership, playing up his military past and invoking memories
of Indonesia's post-colonial and fiercely nationalist first
president Sukarno, who ruled from 1945-67.
Prabowo's high-profile military career, during which he rose
speedily through the ranks, unravelled quickly after the 1998
fall of long-serving autocrat Suharto, his former father-in-law.
Allegations of human rights abuses during his military days have
plagued his campaign, although he denies the charges and has
never been taken to court for any such offences.
"I just voted for Prabowo because I've been promised by his
party they will pay for my children's education. I personally
like him because he is the former son-in-law of Suharto," said
housewife Titi Rahayati, 49, in the West Java city of
The election will mark the first time a directly elected
president hands over the reins to another. Outgoing President
Yudhoyono, who has largely disappointed in recent years, must
step down in October after serving two terms.
(Additional reporting by Randy Fabi, Benny Louis Siahaya,
Gayatri Suroyo, Adriana Nina Kusuma and Dennys Kapa in Jakarta,
and Lewa Pardomuan in Tasikmalaya, Writing by Jonathan Thatcher;
Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)