Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo leads in early unofficial presidential vote count

February 14, 2024
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Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, a former army general, appears to have an early unofficial lead in the race to become the country’s next president, “quick counts” show after voting in the world’s third-largest democracy closed on Wednesday.

Prabowo appears to have won a simple majority of ballots cast in Wednesday’s elections, with some early independent snap counts — sampling of actual vote counts at the various voting locations — putting his percentage of the popular vote at nearly 60%, substantially more than what pre-election opinion polls yielded.

Former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan placed second in the presidential race — garnering just under a quarter of the votes so far, while the ex-governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo was third, according to the snap counts released by independent pollsters, including Indikator PolitikLitbang Kompas and Lembaga Survei Indonesia.

More than 200 million people were eligible to vote in only the sixth election in Indonesia since the country emerged from a military dictatorship under onetime President Suharto in the late 1990s. The outcome of these elections could go some way in affecting democratization in Indonesia, while determining whether Southeast Asia’s largest economy will attain developed status by 2045.

Official results are not due for at least a month. The winner will replace President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, who is not standing for elections after having served the maximum of 10 years.

“It’s too early to conclude anything … so we have to wait,” Anies told CNBC after the early snap counts suggested he was trailing Prabowo.

“Lots of reports have been coming in since a few weeks ago of possible irregularities, so we have to wait,” he told CNBC’s Martin Soong, repeatedly declining to go into more specifics.

Indonesia’s presidential candidates

Anies is running for president with the backing of three parties, including the secular Nasdem Party in the ruling coalition and the conservative Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Muhaimin Iskandar, better known as Cak Imin and head of the National Awakening Party (PKB), is his vice-presidential running mate.

The third candidate, Ganjar, was nominated by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) as its presidential candidate, alongside Mohammad Mahfud Mahmodin as his vice-presidential running mate.

In Indonesia, only coalitions or individual political parties with at least 20% of the seats in the House of Representatives, or a quarter of the popular vote from the previous House of Representatives election, may propose presidential and vice-presidential candidate pairings.

Prabowo was nominated by his Gerindra Party. His vice-presidential running mate is Jokowi’s eldest son and current mayor of Surakarta or Solo, Gibran Rakabuming Raka — a show of Jokowi’s tacit support for Prabowo even though he has not explicitly endorsed any of the three candidates vying to replace him.



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