With only one more day to go before the General Elections Commission (KPU) will release the official result of the July 2014 presidential election, it seems almost certain that it will take a Constitutional Court ruling for the final judgement. Over the weekend, data from KPU indicates that Joko Widodo has won the election by a margin of about five percentage points. However, his rival Prabowo Subianto has already stated that he will challenge the result as he claims that there are indications of fraud at several polling stations.
According to the KPU’s counting on the provincial level, Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) secured 53.17 percent of the votes, whereas Subianto had 46.83 percent. In absolute terms, the difference between both presidential candidates is about 8.4 million voters. Political analysts consider this gap too large to make a good case at the Constitutional Court and therefore the possible challenge of the Subianto camp is merely a way to postpone the final ruling as they are reluctant to accept a defeat. Over the weekend, the Subianto camp suggested to organize re-elections at about 5,800 polling stations due to suspected violations. In that context, the camp also asked the KPU to postpone the announcement of the official election result (scheduled for Tuesday 22 July 2014). However, the KPU stated that the official release will go ahead according to the initial schedule. If the official election result of the KPU will indeed show a Jokowi win, then Subianto is expected to engage in efforts to delegitimize the KPU by claiming that the institution is not credible and independent.
On Sunday evening (20/07), incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono invited both presidential candidates to break the (Ramadan) fasting at the State Palace, in an attempt to cool possible heated sentiments amid the looming election result. Yudhoyono emphasized the importance of a peaceful and democratic election process. “An orderly course of events is the responsibility of all parties involved”, Yudhoyono said.
Meanwhile, Indonesian military troops and police prepared forces numbering 22,000 around the KPU headquarters in Central Jakarta to prevent possible attacks in case public disorder emerges as a result of the final announcement of the election result. Also in other ‘conflict-prone areas’, the army has been preparing measures to secure peace and order.
This presidential election is the tightest presidential election for over a decade and therefore social unrest is a possibility. Analysts say that the reaction of the political camps as well as the Indonesian people on tomorrow’s election result will form an indication of the current state of democracy in Indonesia (the country’s journey to full-fledged democracy began in 1998 after the fall of the authoritarian Suharto regime).
If Jokowi wins the election, and no significant demonstrations or social unrest emerge, then the Indonesian rupiah exchange rate and local stocks are expected to gain considerably. In case of a Jokowi victory accompanied by social unrest, then investors may engage in profit taking after the recent gains. If Subianto is declared winner by the KPU, then markets are expected to plunge.