Indonesian President Joko Widodo was poised to win another term running the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, even as opponent Prabowo Subianto signalled he would challenge the outcome.
Six top private polling agencies had Widodo, known as Jokowi, ahead of the former general by at least seven percentage points with about
90 percent of the vote counted. While election authorities must confirm any final outcome over the next few weeks, results from private companies have proven accurate in past elections.
“Let’s be united again as brothers and countrymen after the election, weaving unity and brotherhood,” Jokowi told a crowd of cheering supporters who were chanting his name. He didn’t declare victory, saying he would wait for official results.
Another five years in power for Jokowi would be welcome news for investors betting on the 57-year-old leader to pass measures that could unlock growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Prabowo ran a more nationalist campaign, with promises to tackle economic inequality and review Chinese investments.The market responded positively to the early count, with one-month non-deliverable forwards for dollar-rupiah falling as much as 0.8 percent, the biggest decline in a month, to 14,055 in Jakarta. The local stocks, currency and bond markets were closed for voting.
After losing to Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election, Prabowo challenged the results in a lawsuit that was eventually dismissed by the constitutional court.
On Wednesday, his campaign said quick counts showed he won 52.2 percent of the vote nationwide.
“If there is chaos or not, it will not come from us, that I guarantee,” Prabowo, an army general who served as a special forces commander during the 32-year reign of the dictator Suharto, said after casting his ballot. “But we don’t want to be cheated anymore. The
Indonesian people won’t be cheated anymore.”
As many as 193 million Indonesians were eligible to vote in the elections, which also determined the make-up of the legislature. Jokowi had the support of 10 parties that together account for about 60 percent of the strength of the outgoing parliament.
The president sought re-election on a pledge of providing free education, millions of jobs for the country’s young population and continuing an infrastructure building boom that saw him unveil $350 billion of projects in his first term. After casting his vote at a polling station in Central Jakarta, Jokowi told reporters he was optimistic about winning the election.