The Jakarta Post
Human rights watchdog Imparsial has lambasted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for not taking into consideration the quick-count results of credible pollsters that have confirmed the victory of the Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo-Jusuf Kalla ticket.
Imparsial executive director Poengky Indarti said on Thursday that Yudhoyono's stance was peculiar and tended to benefit Jokowi's contender, Prabowo Subianto, who received an endorsement from Yudhoyono's Democratic Party.
'We urge SBY [Yudhoyono] to act like the President and not as a political party leader. [His decisions] tend to benefit presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto,' she said after a meeting at National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.
Poengky pointed out that during the April 9 legislative election, Yudhoyono immediately conceded his party's poor showing after observing the quick-count result of Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC).
SMRC and at least six other pollsters announced hours after voting closed on Wednesday that Jokowi had taken the lead with an average of 52 percent of the vote.
On the contrary, three pollsters believed to be financed by Prabowo's camp called Prabowo the winner.
Responding to the contradictory results, Yudhoyono has called on both camps to exercise restraint and wait for the official result from the General Elections Commission (KPU), due no later than July 22.
'In the previous election, he confirmed that the Democratic Party was on the decline [based on SMRC's quick count]. So, why did he respond differently to SMRC's quick count this time?' Poengky quipped.
At the National Police headquarters, Poengky and some NGO representatives met with National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti to discuss the force's measures to prevent vote-rigging that may occur in the vote tabulation process at the regional level.
'We urge the police to keep a close eye on the transport of results from the polling stations to the KPU office,' Poengky said.
Abdullah Dahlan of the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) found that vote tabulations at city and provincial levels were prone to manipulation.
'We have found indications of vote-rigging attempts in several regions, such as Bangkalan [in Madura, East Java], West Jakarta and Depok [on West Java]. For instance, at the subdistrict level, some changes had been made on a number of unused ballots,' Abdullah said.
Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Haris Azhar received reports that some local leaders had allegedly intimidated local election committee members to tamper with election results.
'We ask the police to provide protection to local election committee members who are prone to intimidation,' Haris said.
Responding to the demands, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie was upbeat that the force's 254,000 personnel, with the help from 23,000 military officers, would be able to safeguard the vote tabulation process.
'Our members guarding polling stations have taken pictures of the voting results. The pictures could serve as evidence should electoral disputes arise,' he said, adding that the police had no intention of making the pictures public or to use them for quick-count purposes.
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