The Jakarta Post
After foreign governments and observers congratulated Indonesia on staging an orderly and peaceful election, focus is now shifting to safeguarding the votes cast by the electorate in Wednesday's presidential election.
The National Police said on Thursday that they would guard the election's vote-counting process until the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the official result on July 22.
'Police personnel in the field will keep a close eye on the vote counting and recapitulations conducted at every ballot station. Some officers have even taken notes or photos of the official vote-counting process in the polling stations that they are guarding,' National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny Sompie said on Thursday.
Ronny said photos taken by the officers would be used as evidence in the event of a result dispute.
'The photos and notes from the field [...] will only be used in case any problems arise in the vote counting to justify the situation,' he said.
Meanwhile, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) warned KPU commissioners not to engage in corrupt practices that could compromise the election results.
KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas warned KPU commmissioners against accepting bribes.
'I call on everybody involved not to resort to bribery, as this would not lead to a clean government; it could in fact delegitimize the future government,' Busyro told reporters.
He also called on the public to closely monitor the vote counting.
With both candidate pairs declaring themselves the winner of the presidential election, many suspect that one of the pairs may resort to rigging the votes to alter the result of the manual vote count conducted by the KPK.
Several Jakarta-based pollsters have declared Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential pair Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as the winner in Wednesday's election, with a margin of more than 5 percent.
With tensions running high, outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on both tickets to exercise restraint in the days ahead so as to prevent a conflict between their respective supporters.
Despite of the tension, the US government congratulated the people of Indonesia for the success of the presidential election.
'We congratulate the people of Indonesia on the successful completion of their historic presidential election. The high voter turnout, spirited campaigns and strong participation by Indonesia's public, civil society and media underscore the strength and dynamism of Indonesia's maturing democracy,' a White House press secretary said from a statement, as quoted by Antara news agency.
The statement went on that as the world's second- and third-largest democracies, the US and Indonesia had many shared interests and values, including a strong belief in the importance of respect for human rights, inclusive governance and equal opportunities for all people.
'The comprehensive partnership that our two countries launched in 2010 is a long-term commitment to build on our common interests to broaden, deepen and elevate bilateral relations between the United States and Indonesia, as well as to promote mutual understanding and work together on issues of regional and global concern.'
Foreign observers have also praised the peaceful balloting on Wednesday.
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) Indonesia country director Shan Strugnell said on Thursday that the KPU had done a good job in ensuring the presidential election ran smoothly.
'The logistics, the arrangement and the inclusiveness is astounding,' she said at the KPU's headquarters in Menteng, Central Jakarta.
Meanwhile, the head of programs at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Isach WZ Karmiadji, also praised the election, saying that the public's enthusiasm to vote was high despite the election coinciding with the soccer World Cup and Ramadhan.
'We did hear though that some people stayed at home because they were too tired after watching the soccer on television the night before,' he said.
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