Widodo set to be declared winner of Indonesia presidential poll
July 22, 2014 00:00
JAKARTA - Jakarta governor Joko Widodo is expected Tuesday to be declared the winner of Indonesia's tightest presidential election since the end of authoritarian rule, after his opponent ex-general Prabowo Subianto accused him of cheating.
More than 250,000 police officers were on duty across the world's third-biggest democracy for the announcement of the results two weeks after the bitterly-fought poll, in which both candidates declared victory.
Voters faced a stark choice between Widodo, from a new breed of politicians without roots in the era of dictator Suharto, and Prabowo, a figure from the old guard who won support with fiery nationalistic speeches but has a checkered human rights record.
The election standoff has emerged as a major challenge for the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation 16 years after decades of authoritarian rule came to a chaotic end.
"It's the biggest test of the electoral system since 1999," said Jakarta-based political analyst Paul Rowland, referring to the year of the first free election in Indonesia after the Suharto era.
While reliable pollsters and private websites monitoring the tally predict a victory of several points for Widodo, known by his nickname Jokowi, Prabowo insists his opponent has cheated and says he will not accept the result if he loses.
His team has vowed to contest a losing result at the Constitutional Court. While experts say a challenge could create uncertainty, they see it as unlikely to succeed, given Widodo looks to have won by millions of votes.