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Jakarta Post

Jokowi meets foreign press as fraud fears loom

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 11, 2014   /  09:01 am

Presidential frontrunner Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo met on Thursday with dozens of foreign journalists and correspondents  in Jakarta in his first post-election press conference one day after credible quick counts confirmed his victory in Wednesday'€™s election over opponent Prabowo Subianto.

'€œI truly thank you for the generous reporting you have done on our campaign and for our country. You have helped Indonesia become known by the world as a strong pillar of democracy. Thank you again,'€ Jokowi said in English during the press conference.

Jokowi continued his short speech during the press conference in Indonesian. '€œI want to emphasize to the public that our job does not stop after yesterday'€™s election. Now we are entering the more important post-election phase.'€

Jokowi said that despite Wednesday'€™s election quick-count results, the public should remain calm and united while votes were tabulated by the General Elections Commission (KPU), which is expected to announce the official election results on July 22.

'€œI call on all parties not to besmirch people'€™s victory in yesterday'€™s election. Yesterday'€™s victory was not a mobilized victory, but purely the victory of people'€™s aspirations,'€ Jokowi said.

Jokowi added that with their election coverage, international media outlets as well as local media had helped Indonesia write a new page in history.

After the short press conference, Jokowi sat down for interviews with around 30 foreign journalists and correspondents.

Before the interviews, Jokowi allowed all the foreign journalists and correspondents to take photographs with him in front of the media center.

On Thursday night, Jokowi left for Metro TV studios to speak on a talk show about being named president-elect by a number of credible surveys.

During the talk show, host Najwa Shihab asked him whether he had the intention of meeting with rival Prabowo, who also declared himself the winner, based on a number of quick counts whose results were described by the Indonesian Association for Public Opinion Surveys  (Persepi) as '€œquestionable'€.

'€œI haven'€™t had a chance to talk to Pak Prabowo,'€ Jokowi replied.

Najwa then asked him: '€œAre you willing to phone him to have a word?'€

Jokowi then said, '€œLet'€™s see how things develop. He is a good friend and he is a statesman in my eyes.'€

Meanwhile, Prabowo urged his supporters not to stage rallies to celebrate his declared victory.  

Head of Prabowo'€™s presidential campaign team, Mahfud MD, said on Thursday that Prabowo supporters must wait until the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the final result of the election to publicly celebrate their victory.

'€œEven if we lose, we will accept it. It is a must since the [KPU] result is official,'€ Mahfud, a former constitutional court chief justice, said on Thursday.

Prabowo also told supporters to stay calm and alert on Wednesday.

'€œWe will be patient. We will follow all procedures. We will obey the law. We will try to behave. But don'€™t think that we are weak,'€ the former three-star general cautioned.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that with both candidates continuing to claim victory, the next leader of the world'€™s third-largest democracy could be decided in court.

The election commission, which began tallying the votes, will produce the official results by July 22. But if either candidate refutes the outcome due to evidence of fraud or other voting irregularities, the case will go to the Constitutional Court. The judges have two weeks to make a ruling after receiving complaints.

'€œThe Jokowi camp is clearly worried that there will be fraud in the aggregation process,'€ said Jakarta-based political analyst Paul Rowland.

Confidence in the Constitutional Court has also recently been shaken, though some are already predicting that'€™s where Indonesia'€™s next president will be decided

'€œConsidering victory claims from both candidates, it seems difficult to avoid a legal battle at the Constitutional Court,'€ said Denny Indrayana, deputy minister of Law and Human Rights.