Indonesia probes vote-rigging claims ahead of polls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 13, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 13, 2019

Indonesia probes vote-rigging claims ahead of polls

Indonesia is probing vote-rigging claims after the discovery of thousands of stray election ballots in neighbouring Malaysia, officials said, as the opposition threatens to challenge next week's poll results over separate voter list irregularities.

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has sent a team to Malaysia to investigate as many as 20,000 ballots, including many marked in favour of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, that were found in two locations near the capital Kuala Lumpur.

"This concerns a very sensitive issue and since it happened in another country, we're doing a very careful investigation," KPU chief Arief Budiman told a press conference late Thursday.

Recent polls suggest Widodo, 57, has a double-digit lead over challenger Prabowo Subianto, an ex-military general, setting up a repeat of the pair's contest in 2014, which Widodo narrowly won.

Indonesia's opposition has already warned of court challenges and street protests over irregularities, including errors in dates of birth and duplicate identity card numbers, for some 17.5 million registered voters -- nearly 10 percent of the electorate.

More than 190 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot Wednesday in one of the world's biggest one-day elections, with some two million living overseas also registered to vote, including in Malaysia.

Indonesia's Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) confirmed that stray ballots marked in Widodo's favour were found in Malaysia after videos surfaced online that showed people raiding an empty store in Selangor state and unpacking several bags containing marked ballots.

Another video, apparently from another location in Malaysia, showed two women punching holes in ballots, which is how a vote is marked in Indonesia's elections.

But the agency said the ballots' authenticity had yet to be confirmed.

"Were those ballots really printed by the KPU? Who did this?" Bawaslu's Mochammad Afifuddin said in a joint statement with the elections commission.

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