Despite a very narrow margin in all early results going to the Jokowi-Kalla ticket, the Prabowo-Hatta camp also claimed victory just a few hours after the ballot boxes closed today and pollsters and the media released their exit polls and quick count results.
Major quick counts including the most visited online news portal Detik.com, the leading newspaper Kompas, Sjaiful Mujani Research Consulting and Radio of Republic Indonesia suggest that presidential hopeful Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, will win the presidential election with a very tight result: 52 per cent of votes against Prabowo-Hatta with 48 per cent of votes.
But the Prabowo camp claimed its victory based on a different set of quick counts. Spokesperson for the Prabowo-Hatta machine, Fadli Zon, declared his candidate’s victory based on a quick count held by Puskaptis, in which Prabowo received 51.96 per cent and Jokowi received 48.04 per cent of votes, and Jaringan Suara Indonesia announced its quick count of Prabowo 50.22 per cent and Jokowi 49.78 per cent. Using the results from their affiliated quick counts, Prabowo confidently declared himself the winner of the presidential race.
In response to the quick counts results, Jokowi’s camp swiftly held a press conference. Jokowi called for all citizens to watch and to guard the votes until the final counting process. “The results demonstrate people’s choice, people’s voice. So I call all citizens to guard the voting and the counting process.” The National Election Commission is expected to be announce the official result on 22 July.
The media are at this point also divided on the result, although most major media organisations are calling a Jokowi-Kalla win. Against that tide is private TV station TV One and online portal news Vivanews – owned by Aburizal Bakri, leader of Golkar Party and one of Prabowo’s coalition members – which released quick counts with Prabowo winning the race. Other Indonesian TV stations, RCTI and MNC and their affiliates - owned by media tycoon Hari Tanoe, who also supports Prabowo – published similar quick counts, reporting that Prabowo leads with a very narrow margin.
Exiting Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, held a press conference after learning that both camps had declared victory. He appealed to the rivals and their supporters to cool down and to patiently await the official result from the National Election Commission. “I also call to all citizens to keep calm, respect law and order, and maintain the peaceful condition after the presidential election.”
But unsurprisingly, supporters of both camps could not wait to celebrate their declared victories. In Central Jakarta, Jokowi’s supporters gathered at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout – a public landmark favored for mass gatherings.
Meanwhile supporters of the Prabowo-Hatta ticket were celebrating at the Bidakara Building in South Jakarta. Festivities were also underway at locations across Indonesia. In the city of Surakarta, where Jokowi served as a mayor, people staged a convoy through the main streets and city center.
With more than 180 million eligible voters casting their votes today, enthusiastic voters were lining up at polling booths from 7am. There were 477,291 polling stations set up across the country. Indonesia introduced the direct presidential election only 10 years ago, in 2004.
This year’s presidential election has been the most anticipated in the past decade, characterized by the contest of vastly different contenders. On the one side Jokowi, the popular governor of Jakarta and early favorite, an everyman who has introduced a new kind of leadership in national politics with his humble and down-to-earth style. On the other Prabowo, a former military general, fearsome strongman and successful businessman with a pedigree linking directly into the nation’s governing elites.
This is the first time in Indonesian history that both presidential candidates have declared victory as the result of the narrow margin.