Yudhoyono Appeals for Calm From Both Candidates as Each Declares Victory

Supporters of Prabowo Subianto gesture and cheer after he declares victory in Indonesia’s presidential election in Jakarta on July 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Supporters of Prabowo Subianto gesture and cheer after he declares victory in Indonesia’s presidential election in Jakarta on July 9, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday appealed for calm from both camps in the presidential election, after each pair of candidates declared their ticket as the winner, setting up what could be a contentious period before official results are released less than two weeks from now.

Yudhoyono told reporters at the State Palace hours after the 1 p.m. close of the polling stations that the two presidential candidates must restrain themselves and not provoke conflict among themselves and their supporters. Official results from the General Election Commission (KPU) are due on July 22, and disputes can be taken up with the Constitutional Court soon after.

“Because both candidates declare that they won the election, we must wait for results from the General Election Commission because that will be the official result,”  the president said. “Either candidate can take legal action after the KPU’s announcement. In the meantime each of them must maintain peaceful conditions across the country. They have to be able to control their supporters so that they don’t get involved in conflict or violence.”

Joko Widodo declared himself and vice presidential running mate Jusuf Kalla as the winning ticket at around 2:30 p.m. as preliminary results from pollster Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting — whose director had supported Joko’s candidacy — showed that Joko had won 52.76 percent of the votes, while rival Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa had 47.24 percent. At the time, the data were based on 85.2 percent of the votes counted.

Meanwhile, Prabowo also claimed victory in the election. According to tvOne’s website, a quick count from Puskaptis showed that Prabowo-Hatta had 52.05 percent of the vote, compared to 47.95 percent for Joko-Kalla. TVOne is owned by Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, who supports the Prabowo campaign.

Surveys leading up to the election suggested that the race would be close, with Joko’s lead over Prabowo shrinking. Yudhoyono on Friday called for the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) to boost security and to be aware of possible violations of the electoral process.

“Congratulations on a peaceful election,” Yudhoyono said. “But our work is not yet done. There are days to come which we need to manage well. Besides the democratic election, our nation’s security should be maintained. That’s my request, not only for the presidential and vice president candidates, but also for all parties, to maintain an orderly situation.”

“Indonesians who have been showing a good political attitude, who have been patient and participated [in the election], I hope you will be the fortress … and prevent unwanted things,” Yudhoyono added.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto in an address to the nation asked both sides not to allow their supporters to celebrate the victory on the streets, to prevent clashes.