Protesters clash with Indonesian police after election loss

Clay Curtis
May 22, 2019

Indonesian President Joko Widodo comfortably won re-election in last month's poll, an official count showed yesterday.

Some 32,000 security personnel were deployed across the capital Jakarta, including in front of the General Elections Commission's downtown office which has been barricaded with razor wire.

Prabowo Subianto, a retired general and son-in-law of Suharto, the country's former dictator, insists that he won the April 17 election despite official results indicating his decisive defeat.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair. His challenger Prabowo Subianto has vowed to challenge any victory for Widodo, alleging widespread voter fraud, and warned that it could spark street protests.

Widodo's campaign highlighted his progress in poverty reduction and improving Indonesia's inadequate infrastructure with new ports, toll roads, airports and mass rapid transit.

Subianto, who also lost to Widodo in 2014, ran a fear-based campaign, emphasizing what he sees as Indonesia's weakness and the risk of exploitation by foreign powers or disintegration.

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Online, Subianto was pilloried by social media users who poked fun at his repudiation of the unofficial results and for kissing the ground as he declared himself president.

Once the official result is released, the losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court.

Six people have died and 200 were injured in civil unrest in the Indonesian capital, its governor, Anies Baswedan, said on Wednesday.

"I hereby decided and set the final KPU decision on results of elections on president and vice president, central parliament members, regional representatives members, provincial parliament members, regency/municipal parliament members in 2019 elections", KPU Chairman Arief Budiman said here. "This refusal is a moral responsibility for us to not give up the fight against injustice, fraud, arbitrariness, lies, and any actions that will harm democracy".

Tensions have also spiked since police said last week that they arrested dozens of Islamic State-linked terror suspects who planned to cause chaos by bombing post-election protests.

Widodo and his vice-presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin won the election by a 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent margin over Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, the elections commission said.

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