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Politics

Both candidates claim to be Indonesia's next president

JAKARTA -- Joko Widodo is claiming that exit polls show him as the winner in Indonesia's tightly fought presidential election. But Prabowo Subianto, his only contender, is making the same claim.

    When polling stations closed on Wednesday, independent organizations began releasing exit polls and voting samples known as quick counts.

    According to the Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI), Joko won around 53.37% of votes, leaving Prabowo with 46.63%. LSI took sample votes from 2,000 polling  stations across 33 provinces.

     Joko also had 52.36% of the votes in a quick count based on 70% of the votes, according to media group Kompas.

    "Results of the quick counts (mean) victory," Joko told reporters in Jakarta.

     "Prabowo-Hatta has got support and mandate from the people of the Republic of Indonesia," Prabowo countered, referring to his running mate, Hatta Rajasa.

     "We ask all supporters and people of the Republic of Indonesia to guard the result of the quick counts until (the) official statement is announced by the election committee," Prabowo said.

     Joko was favorite when his presidential candidacy was declared in March, but Subianto has come back in recent weeks, making for a tightly contested race. While both candidates have pledged to grow Southeast Asia's biggest economy, Joko has been characterized as down to earth and Prabowo as a strong top-down leader.

     Indonesia's third direct presidential election was held on Wednesday morning after the outgoing president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, reached the constitutional limit of two five-year terms.  

     Official results are expected on July 21 or 22. Candidates can then take any disputes to the Constitutional Court until July 25, after which the election committee will announce the final result. Indonesia's new president is expected to be inaugurated on October 20.

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