When Prabowo Subianto declared victory for the first time in last Wednesday’s election, despite all of the quick count pollster indicating he had lost to President Joko Widodo 55% to 45% (a predicted result that continues to be backed up by the ongoing real count), he claimed that his campaign had done their own exit polling that showed he had won the vote by 62%.
Although Prabowo’s campaign has not yet released the raw data behind that 62% figure (despite being challenged to multiple times), it has continued to use that as a primary justification for their claims of systemic voter fraud. But his campaign head is going even further, claiming that his candidate actually should’ve won in a huge landslide victory over Jokowi if the system had been fair.
The chairman of Prabowo’s national campaign body (BPN), Djoko Santoso, said yesterday that the scope of the voter fraud in last Wednesday’s vote was so vast that it was covering up an even bigger win by Prabowo than they had previously thought.
“On April 17, the result was that [Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno] won. But before the 17th, on the 17th and after the 17th, they cheated. The fraud was unchecked, it was massive, planned systematically and brutal,” Djoko said at an event for Prabowo supporters in Jakarta yesterday as quoted by Detik.
“However, there is still the 62% of the vote [that Prabowo got in our exit polling] and that is why Prabowo-Sandi declared victory after being cheated. If it was not rigged, it could have been 70% or 80%,” Djoko continued (without offering any evidence for the claim).
The event at which Djoko spoke came directly after a protest by a few hundred Prabowo supporters at the headquarters of the Election Advisory Commission (Bawaslu) in Jakarta. The protesters, many of whom were members or supporters of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and affiliated Islamist groups, echoed Prabowo’s claims of systemic voter fraud and demanded that Bawaslu investigate the General Election Commission (KPU).
Although those who support Prabowo’s quixotic claims to the presidency have unearthed some instances of electoral mishandling, such as incorrect data being submitted from polling stations, those instances have been isolated and were likely due to human error rather than ill intent. Thus far, BPN has not revealed any credible evidence to support their claims of massive and systemic voter fraud.
Despite his multiple claims to victory, Prabowo has implied that he would wait for the results of the KPU real count (due on or before May 22) before taking further action. If he loses in the real count there’s a chance he could try to challenge the results in the Constitutional Court as he did in 2014 when he lost to President Jokowi the first time. However, that ended with Prabowo’s challenge being dismissed by the court, eventually forcing Prabowo to say he was withdrawing from the electoral process in protest of its manipulation — a way of conceding defeat without admitting defeat.