After foreign governments and observers congratulated Indonesia on staging an orderly and peaceful election, focus is now shifting to safeguarding the votes cast by the electorate in Wednesday’s presidential election.
The National Police said on Thursday they would guard the vote-counting process until the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the official result on July 22.
“Police personnel in the field will keep a close eye on the vote counting and recapitulations conducted at every ballot station. Some officers have even taken notes or photos of the official vote-counting process in the polling stations that they are guarding,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny Sompie said on Thursday.
Ronny said photos taken by the officers would be used as evidence in the event of a result dispute.
“The photos and notes from the field [...] will only be used in case any problems arise in the vote counting to justify the situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) warned KPU commissioners not to engage in corrupt practices to tamper election results.
KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqoddas warned KPU commmissioners against accepting bribes.
“I call on everybody involved not to resort to bribery, as this would not lead to a clean government; it could in fact delegitimize the future government,” Busyro told reporters.
He also called on the public to closely monitor the vote counting.
With both pairs of candidates declaring themselves winners of the presidential election, many suspect that one of the pairs may resort to rigging the votes to alter the result of the manual vote count conducted by the KPK.
Several Jakarta-based pollsters have declared Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential pair Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as the winner in Wednesday’s election, with a margin of more than 5 per cent.
With tensions running high, outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on both tickets to exercise restraint in the days ahead so as to prevent a conflict between their respective supporters.
Despite the tension, the US government congratulated the people of Indonesia for the success of the presidential election.
Bagus BT Saragih and Hans Nicholas Jong
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