JAKARTA – In a closely fought race, Indonesia's Joko “Jokowi” Widodo claimed victory in Wednesday’s presidential elections after early results showed the rising politician leading the vote with about 5%.
“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, Reuters reported on Wednesday, July 9.
Some 190 million eligible Indonesian voters cast ballots on Wednesday, July 9, in the nations’ first handing of power from one elected leader to another.
On Wednesday's elections, Indonesian voters were choosing between two main candidates, the anti-corruption outsider Joko Widodo and former general Prabowo Subianto.
Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, is considered the star of the elections after opinion polls suggested he will most certainly be the next president of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
Jokowi, the Democratic-Party of Struggle’s candidate, has sowed hopes among voters through his promises of a “new, clean leadership that consolidates democracy”.
On the other hand, the 62-year-old former general Prabowo revived voters’ concerns of returning the old dictatorial order.
While official results are expected to be announced on July 22, one exit poll by an Indonesian think tank showed a slim lead by Jokowi over his rival with 52% of the vote, compared with 48% for Prabowo .
However, the former general insists not to consider the initial results, saying it's too early to judge.
“It's too early to say that (Jokowi has won). This is still in the quick count stage and several TV stations have different results,” the vice chairman of Prabowo's Gerindra party, Fadli Zon, said.
“The final result will be July 22 by the KPU (Election Commission) so (we are) still optimistic that Prabowo (has won).”
Hopes of change and democracy were voiced by Indonesian voters who started flocking to the 479,183 polling stations as early as 07:00 am local time.
“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.”
Voters of the world's third largest democracy aim that the new leader would fulfill his promises.
“I hope the new leader will be better than the past and doesn't make empty promises,” said Nunu, 54, in Menteng.
“In the past they never fulfilled any promises.”
Expressing worries of provoking violence, the outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged all parties to accept the results of the poll.
“Our democracy is at a relatively mature state, and our people enjoy the freedom to choose,” the outgoing leader was quoted by BBC.
“Therefore, I hereby urge all the leaders and political elites in this country to respect the rights of the people, respect the freedom of the people to choose their leader.”
As the election closes, the rhythm of smear campaign that targets both candidates soared.
While Jokowi was classified as Christian and ethnic Chinese, Prabowo was surrounded by several questions about his mental health.
In order to defy the false rumor, Jokowi made a last minute visit to the holy city of Makkah.
Despite his links to the old dictatorial rule, Prabowo gained support of millions of voters as well as three major Islamic-based parties .
“I just voted for Prabowo because I've been promised by his party they will pay for my children's education,” said housewife Titi Rahayati, 49, in the West Java city of Tasikmalaya.
“I personally like him because he is the former son-in-law of Suharto.”
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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