This week 180 million Indonesians went to the polls to cast their vote in the nation’s presidential elections. For a country that has only in the last decade embraced direct-elect democracy, the election has thus far run relatively smoothly. The KPU (General Election Committee), the organisation tasked with “running Indonesian democracy” should be largely credited for this success.
Preliminary results (Quick Count) have by and large shown Jokowi-Kalla winning the election by a margin of plus-minus %5 (within a 1% margin of error). Yet in lieu of such a tight presidential election and the sheer number of votes needing counting, the KPU will not be declaring a winner before the 22nd of this month.
This has understandably been frustrating to those watching the election from outside Indonesia – many in the West are used to relying on Quick Counts to pre-emptively call elections. Yet, it is extremely unlikely that either party will concede defeat until all votes are in.
The uncertainty and confusion surrounding the results has lead some to claim that Prabowo-Hatta are using this time to “steal the election.” However, it is unlikely that the delay will allow for such an overt manipulation of the Indonesian democratic process.
Those in the know believe that in light of a loss Bakrie (Golkar president & crucial Gerindra ally) will abandon support for Prabowo-Hatta and seek political asylum with Megawati’s PDI-P. Golkar backing would both drastically increase MPR support for a (potential) Jokowi presidency and allow Bakrie to stay on as Golkar president – a post that is almost surely to be challenged should Prabowo-Hatta be unsuccessful in their presidential bid. It would also significantly weaken the Gerindra coalition.
However, as of now this remains in the ether that is Indonesian politics. Speculation is a rich mans game and I for one don’t have enough chips to call this one just yet.