On the evening of April 17, the day of Indonesia’s general election, all of the quick count polls uniformly projected that incumbent President Joko Widodo had soundly defeated Prabowo Subianto by over 10% points. But Prabowo defiantly claimed victory that day nonetheless, telling the media and his supporters:
“I want to give an update that based on our real count, our position is 62%. This is the result of the real count. It is based on more than 300,000 polling stations. Expert statisticians are already sure that this result will not change much.”
Since then, Prabowo’s campaign has steadfastly stuck to that 62% figure as the foundation for their ongoing claims of victory as well as massive and systemic vote fraud. Until yesterday, that is.
On Tuesday, Prabowo and his campaign held a press conference at the Grand Sahid Hotel in Jakarta to announce the results of their own internal real count of the presidential vote, much of which directly contradicted Prabowo’s victory claims on April 17.
While his campaign is still claiming victory, their claimed margin of victory has been drastically cut from the previous 62% down to 54.24%.
That data was presented by a member of Prabowo’s campaign, Professor Laode Masihu Kamaluddin, who has played the part of the campaign’s statistics expert. According to Laode, the 54.24% figure was based on the results of their campaign’s tabulation of official C1 forms (which contain the vote tally information from a polling station) from 444,976 polling stations, which would account for 54.91% of all polling stations in the country.
Laode claimed that, based on that still incomplete count, President Jokowi had acquired 39,599,832 votes (or 44,14%) compared to 48,657,483 votes for Prabowo.
That clearly contradicts Prabowo’s election day victory claim of 62%, which was also supposedly based on a “real count” of votes, as well as his expert statisticians’ supposed claim that the result would “not change much”.
In fact, it was Prof. Laode that Prabowo was most likely referring to as he was the one who came up with the 62% claim. Just one week ago, Laode did an interview with a Prabowo campaigner and was asked to explain where that data came from. The professor, who still stood by the 62% figure at the time, claimed that it was based on C1 data conveyed by Prabowo campaign volunteers to their HQ via SMS messages (yes, seriously).
“Everything that was said by Pak Prabowo and Sandi was all based on valid data,” Prof. Laode says in the video.
As pointed out by Jansen Sitindaon, the chairman of the executive board of the Democratic Party (which has strongly hinted it will leave Prabowo’s opposition coalition to join Jokowi’s), this new claim by Laode proves he did not have valid data to back up the campaign’s original 62% claim.
“What the Democratic Party is conveying is that, the emergence of this new figure of 54% shows that the claim of 62% victory was unproven,” Jansen said yesterday as quoted by Detik.
Despite his campaign’s changing story, Prabowo seems to have only grown more self-righteous in claiming he was the one who was cheated and reiterated to the crowd at yesterday’s event that he was unwilling to accept the results of a fraudulent election.
“We still have hope in (the General Election Commission). But my attitude is clear, I will reject the results of their election count, the results of a fraudulent count. We cannot accept injustice and dishonesty,” Prabowo told the audience yesterday.
Neither Prabowo nor his campaign have confirmed whether or not they would mount a legal challenge the official result of the vote from the General Election Commission (KPU), which is scheduled to be announced on May 22, in the Constitutional or Supreme Court. Prabowo did challenge the result in 2014, when he lost to Jokowi and claimed election fraud the first time, but the Constitutional court declined to hear his case.
There are rumors that Prabowo’s supporters may stage massive protests or even riots when the KPU releases the results in an attempt to overturn them. However, police have dismissed the rumors as being unsubstantiated.
Prabowo’s allies within the opposition have played their part in stoking fears of rioting, particularly his senior adviser Amien Rais, who popularized the term “people power” to refer to grassroots streets protests that will supposedly erupt against the government for their alleged election fraud against Prabowo.
Based on quick count results and the ongoing real count tabulation of votes, President Joko Widodo has all but officially secured his reelection victory over challenger Prabowo Subianto. As of this morning, Jokowi leads Prabowo 56.23% to 43.77%, based on the 82% of all votes that have already been tallied by the KPU thus far.