Yesterday, Indonesia headed to the polls to choose its first new present for a decade. Late on Wednesday, the result was not entirely clear: both Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta, and former army general Prabowo Subianto are claiming victory.

Here’s how election day played out on social media, and what we know so far.


AIYA’s own Liam Gammon (@Gammonator) prepared a handy backgrounder before polls opened, outlining the basics of the process:

Did we mention that this election is huge? It’s the world’s biggest single-day direct presidential election, with nearly 190 million voters on thousands of islands eligible to participate. That means that, with the limited resources available to it, Indonesia’s electoral commission, the Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU), can’t possibly count the votes on election day like we’re used to in Australia. The official KPU numbers won’t be released until some time after the election day.

So, private polling agencies team up with TV networks to release ‘quick counts’, which are based upon data sent in by reporters stationed at a randomly-selected sample of voting booths. These quick counts are generally accurate to within a few percentage points—but given that recent opinion polls predict an extremely close result tomorrow, the quick counts potentially may not make it clear who has actually won on Wednesday. It may take days, weeks or even months to know the official outcome if the result is particularly tight.

There’s no question: today’s poll is massive.

Voting overseas

Overseas polling took place on Saturday, with expats heading to consulates in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and the Indonesian embassy in Canberra to cast their vote.

The papers

Here’s a quick sampling of the papers from the morning of the poll — click to enlarge each image.


Getting ready

As with April’s legislative elections, Twitter was abuzz with photos and tweets from volunteers and polling booths preparing for the day ahead.

Many Indonesians had been preoccupied with this morning’s World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. Prabowo’s neice Rahuyu Saraswati Djojohadikusomo, herself a Gerindra politican, attempted to draw a link between that match and the poll: Taking part in yesterday’s elections was simple: voters just needed to puncture (or mencoblos) the name or photo of their chosen candidate:

Polls open

Once polls opened, it wasn’t long before tweets and selfies from Indonesians began to flood in. News channel KompasTV encouraged voters to tweet their photos under the hashtage #PilihanGue.

Yep, it’s selfie day.

Here’s the notorious Julia Perez:

…journalists with Al Jazeera:

…and our own friends from AyoVote:

A pair of (terrifying) clowns cast their vote in Semarang.

Indonesia’s election agency, the KPU, even opened a polling booth for patients and staff at this hospital in central Jakarta:

Detainees at the Corruption Eradication Commission also excercised their deomcratic rights:

The candidates vote

Prabowo voted at a polling booth in Bojong Keneng, West Java.

Meanwhile, Jokowi voted with his wife Iriana at TPS 18 in Menteng, close to the governor’s residence in Menteng.

Here’s Jokowi’s running mate Jusuf Kalla, with grandchildren, before he cast his vote:

Prabowo’s vice presidential candidate Hatta Rajasa voted at TPS 01 in Jejawi, South Sumatra:

And because I can’t help myself, SBY and Ibu Ani, resplendent in matching batik at their polling booth in Cikeas, near Bogor:

Polls close

Polls closed quite early in the afternoon, at 1pm — allowing sufficient for polling booth workers to finish counting votes in daylight.

Some of the first exit polls pointed to a Jokowi lead in key provinces:

The Lowy Institute’s Aaron Connelly points to this Reuters article explaining the significance of West Java as a “battleground province” for the two candidates. Not long after, the first quick count polls (hitung cepat) began to appear. Again, many suggested that Jokowi was out in front:

But not all pollsters agreed. Media outlets including tvOne, owned by Prabowo supporter Aburizal Bakrie, called the election for Prabowo:

TV networks used an array of dazzling charts and graphics to visualise the result…

…but behind the scenes, the process was really pretty old fashioned:

Jokowi declares victory

An hour and a half after voting ended, PDI-P head Megawati Sukarnoputri appeared at a press conference claiming victory for her candidate, Jokowi.

tvOne’s attention was elsewhere.

Then things got confusing. Soon after, Prabowo held his own press conference, claiming victory for himself, and thanking the public for their mandate.

SBY took to twitter to warn both sides against claiming victory prematurely.

Jokowi supporters might have missed this memo, however, with a large group starting to gather at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in central Jakarta.

The candidate himself made an appearance soon after.

In response, Prabowo makes an appearance on tvOne.

The two candidates met with SBY at his residence last night.

Jusuf Kalla and Jokowi and meet with SBY at his residence in Cikeas. Photo: Al Abar/Metro TV

Jusuf Kalla and Jokowi and meet SBY at his residence in Cikeas. Photo: Al Abar/Metro TV

In Australia

The ABC spoke to a number of Indonesian communities in Melbourne. The response to the result at Carlton’s Garage Cafe was close to unanimous:

The ABC also spoke to ASPI’s Natalie Sambhi on the next president’s foreign policy, Roy Morgan’s Debnath Guharoy on the poll itself, Jacqui Baker on the story outside Jakarta, Dave McRae on the future of the bilateral relationship and Kompas TV manager Yulia Supadmo on how the media approached the poll.

Here’s how the expat vote across Australia played out: more than 20,000 votes were cast in total.

This trend appeared to be reflected in expat communities around the world. Here are the results of one exit poll broadcast by BeritaSatu:

This morning’s front pages

Based on a quick (and very unscientific) look through the front pages of this morning’s papers, many outlets — including the respected national broadsheet Kompas — are declaring a Jokowi-JK victory.


Koran Sindo, a pro-Prabowo paper, owned by Bakrie’s MNC group, wasn’t available at the time we published this post.

What happens next?

Right now, it appears both candidates are waiting until July 22, when the initial results from the official “manual count” will be released by Indonesia’s KPU.

For more reading on the results overnight, check out:

We’ll have more commentary and analysis in tomorrow’s AIYA Links.