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Cementing Indonesia's national unity after elections

Cementing Indonesia's national unity after elections

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Indonesia has convened its parliamentary and presidential elections peacefully, though the General Elections Commission (KPU) needs time to count the votes that most of some 192 million eligible voters had cast at more than 800,000 polling stations across the country on Wednesday.

Both the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno camps presently await the vote count of the General Elections Commission's (KPU), as the final result is legally binding.

Despite the fact that the KPU could have finished counting votes, and its official results would be announced in May, the convening of today's elections has shown an increased enthusiasm among voters.

At Polling Station number 29 at Ciomas Hills residential complex's Pangrango Cluster in Sukamakmur Village, Ciomas Subdistrict, Bogor District, for instance, there were 172 eligible voters who exercised their voting rights.

At the polling station, there were actually 157 residents whose names had been recorded in the Permanent Voters List (DPT). However, only 128 residents showed up and cast their votes, while 44 others comprised 39 voters registered in the Special Voters List (DPK) and five additional voters.

Actually, the number of voters at the polling station could increase if the local representatives of the General Elections Commission (KPU) allowed two women holding the Makassar ID cards to cast their votes there.

The electoral and polling station authorities at the Ciomas Hills Housing Complex were very cautious with the non-Bogor District's residents who failed to showcase their C-5 forms, and those with Bogor District's ID cards who failed to register before 01.00 pm.

The increased enthusiasm of participating in the parliamentary and presidential elections was also shown by Indonesians living overseas though many of them had to be turned away from ballot booths due to the closing time constraint.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla commented on the fate of Indonesians in certain countries who failed to exercise their votes, saying that the complicated electoral process and increased enthusiasm among voters might have been the reasons behind this particular case.

He was referring to Indonesians who failed to exercise their votes, after they ran out of time as polling stations were reportedly shut at 05.00 pm local time. Among them were Indonesians residing in the Australian city of Sydney and China's city of Hong Kong.

Kalla argued that many eligible voters failed to cast their votes at the polling stations that local Overseas Election Committee (PPLN) had set up because of the length of time needed by each voter to mark the ballot papers.

Every voter might need around 12 to 15 minutes to mark the ballot papers, and in addition to this, if the number of polling stations was inadequate, as was the case in Australia, many voters would have to be turned away, he said.

Apart from the unfortunate occurrences in Sydney and Hong Kong, the increased enthusiasm that lots of eligible voters had shown at various polling stations across Indonesia on Wednesday should highly be appreciated.

The Indonesian Government itself had set a target that this year's general election was expected to see the participation of at least 77.5 percent of the total number of voters.

The people's participation rate had even been regarded by Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo as the key to the success of the general elections. "This issue really matters in this year's elections," Kumolo said in February.

The participation rate at the 2004 general elections was recorded at 84 percent, while the participation rates of the 2009 and 2014 general elections reached 71 and 74 percent, respectively, Kumolo stated.

The real participation rate of the 2019 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections has yet to be announced by the General Elections Commission (KPU) but seeing the increased enthusiasm among Indonesians living inside and outside the country, it may exceed the government's target.

The eligible voters living in different parts of Indonesia had cast their votes on Wednesday. Soon after the polling stations were officially closed at 01.00 pm, several pollsters conducted their quick counts.

Telecast live by several television stations, the pollsters indicated a steady lead for the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin pair, with their electability surpassing that of the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair.

In response to this result, Coordinator of the Prabowo-Sandi pair's National Winning Body's spokespersons Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak revealed that an exit poll conducted by his camp showed that the Prabowo-Sandi pair had garnered 55.4 percent of the votes.

Speaking in connection with the results of several pollsters pointing in favor of the Jokowi-Amin pair, Subianto accused them of swaying the public opinion.

In its place, presidential candidate number 02 Subianto has urged his loyalists and volunteers to stay unperturbed and safeguard ballot boxes .

"Please remain focused on securing all ballot boxes since the votes are the key to fighting deceit," he affirmed.

Whose claims are true? The reality will sooner or later be clear but the message of West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno needs to be kept in the minds and hearts of the entire nation.

Irwan Prayitno appealed to every party and community member to wholeheartedly welcome the presidential and vice presidential candidate pair emerging victorious during Wednesday's presidential elections since the duo will lead Indonesia.

"Regardless of who is the winner in the elections, they are both our leaders. The pair that loses must gracefully come to terms with reality," he stated in a conversation with journalists in Padang on Wednesday.

Prayitno believes every competition has winners and losers, but those tasting victory have been advised to not become arrogant, while those losing should not turn disheartened. He further called on the need for loyalists of the two competing sides to reunite.

The loyalists and backers of the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pairs have been advised to forego whatever transpired during this election process and to come together again within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.  

EDITED BY INE

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