JAKARTA: Indonesia’s presidential challenger on Friday (Apr 19) slammed pollsters as untrustworthy and said they should move to Antarctica so they could “lie to the penguins”, as he refused to concede defeat in this week’s election.
Firebrand ex-general Prabowo Subianto has rejected a dozen so-called quick counts that say Indonesian president Joko Widodo was re-elected Wednesday by a comfortable margin.
READ: President Jokowi declares victory in Indonesia elections as rival Prabowo rejects results
READ: Commentary: Indonesia’s democratic process gains maturity, whether Jokowi or Prabowo wins
The counts, which are samples conducted by pollsters, have been reliable indicators in past elections. Official results are not due until next month.
Subianto – pilloried online for his refusal to concede – ratcheted up the rhetoric Friday, after claiming he was the Southeast Asian nation’s new president.
“The people of Indonesia don’t trust you,” he thundered to around a thousand supporters outside his home in the capital Jakarta.
“Maybe you can move to Antarctica. You can lie to the penguins.”
Friday’s crowd size was small for a city that has seen huge street protests in the past.
Subianto portrayed himself as a man of the people during the heated presidential campaign, despite his immense wealth and ties to Indonesia’s corrupt Suharto dictatorship, which collapsed in 1998.
“This is a victory of the people. The Indonesian people have risen,” he told the crowd.
“The Indonesian people don’t want to be cheated anymore.”
On Thursday evening, Widodo said that he had received phone calls from world leaders to congratulate him on the country’s polls, but added that he would await final results before formally declaring victory.
Subianto has alleged voter fraud and warned he would challenge the results in court.
He did the same, unsuccessfully, after losing to Widodo in 2014 and there is little to suggest Subianto will win this latest fight.