When Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto declared victory yesterday, despite quick count results all pointing to a victory for President Joko Widodo, the conspicuous absence of his running mate, Sandiaga Uno, was noted by many.
Prabowo now speaking in front of his supporters. The Gerindra chairman is not accepting defeat, saying that despite numerous evidence of voter fraud, he still won (again, according to his camp's exit poll). BTW, why wasn't Sandiaga Uno by his side? Where is he?
— Coconuts Jakarta (@CoconutsJakarta) April 17, 2019
In fact, his absence puzzled so many in Indonesia that the hashtag #MisteriHilangnyaSandiagaUno (the mystery of Sandiaga Uno’s disappearance) is one of the top trending topics in the country this morning. The hashtag is filled with netizens’ hilarious memes speculating as to where he could be, such as this one suggesting that he disappeared because he couldn’t accept the quick count results:
— NaruSaku (@NaruSakuLovers1) April 17, 2019
But, it turns out, there’s an official explanation for Sandiaga’s absence, but we’ll leave to you to decide whether or not it makes any more sense than the memes that are floating around.
“Pak Sandiaga, from the afternoon until now, is feeling unwell and he has the hiccups. It has not stopped until now. He’s resting [in Prabowo’s residence],” Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign official Yuga Aden told Detik yesterday evening.
“Pak Prabowo paid him a visit earlier and asked him, ‘are you okay mister vice president?’”
Yuga added that Prabowo took his adopted stray cat, Bobby, to see the supposedly ailing Sandiaga. The photo above, which shows Prabowo and Bobby coming to check on Sandiaga and his wife Nur Asia Uno last night, has gone viral.
It’s not clear what, if any, specific medical condition Sandiaga could have that would explain his supposed case of chronic hiccups that were so debilitating that he wasn’t even able to appear in public yesterday evening.
Political observers have speculated that Sandiaga did not appear alongside Prabowo because the former Jakarta vice governor has eyes on the 2024 presidential election and did not want to associate himself with Prabowo’s bad loser image (the presidential candidate also rejected quick count as well as official tallies when he lost in 2014).
Further proof, I would argue, Sandi’s hedging his bets for 2024 https://t.co/rL46lDheJw
— Max Walden (@maxwalden_) April 17, 2019
Whatever the explanation, Sandiaga was not by Prabowo’s side when the latter declared victory in the election during his evening speech, saying he believed he had won 62% of the votes based on his camp’s internal survey.
All of the independent poll groups in Indonesia put Jokowi ahead of Prabowo around 55% to 45% in their quick count tallies. Quick count surveys are historically accurate in Indonesia — in the last presidential election in 2014, most quick count results put Jokowi ahead of Prabowo except for three, which were affiliated with a TV network that sided with Prabowo. The latter turned out to be wrong in the official count.
Despite comfortably winning in all quick count tallies, President Jokowi also addressed the public yesterday evening — with his running mate Ma’ruf Amin standing next to him — stressing that we must wait for the official result by the General Election Commission (KPU), which is going to be published 35 days after the election by the latest.