Indonesian authorities yesterday warned against unrest as a firebrand ex-general rejected unofficial election results that appeared to hand President Joko Widodo another term as leader of the world’s third-biggest democracy.
National Police Chief Tito Karnavian said Wednesday’s “smooth and safe” polls would not be disrupted by demonstrations, and warned of arrests.
“If there are any illegal or unconstitutional actions that threaten public stability and security, (authorities) will take firm action,” he said.
“We won’t tolerate it.
“I urge everyone against mass demonstrations, whether it’s to celebrate or to express dissatisfaction” at the results, Karnavian added.
This year’s campaign was punctuated by bitter mudslinging and a slew of fake news online -- much of it directed at the presidential contenders.
Authorities said yesterday they had seen a spike in false reports and hoaxes, with some calling for chaos in the streets and for Indonesians to commit violence in response to the results.
However, the capital Jakarta was quiet yesterday after as many as 190 million voters in the Muslim-majority country cast ballots in the one-day poll -- which featured a record 245,000 candidates -- to elect a new president, parliamentarians and local legislators.
While official results are not due until next month, a series of so-called “quick counts” by pollsters, which are based on samples, showed Widodo as much as 11 percentage points ahead. Widodo said yesterday that he had received phone calls from several world leaders to congratulate him on his country’s election.