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Joko Widodo, populist governor, is named winner in Indonesian presidential vote

Joko Widodo is a populist who vows a more inclusive government.

ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images

Joko Widodo is a populist who vows a more inclusive government.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Joko Widodo, the governor of Jakarta whose common touch has made him a political phenomenon, was declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election on Tuesday, completing an improbable ascent from child of the slums to leader of the world’s fourth most populous nation.

But the announcement, while widely expected, did not end a simmering controversy, as his opponent, Prabowo Subianto, a retired army general, rejected the results as fraudulent and threatened to withdraw from the race.

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The General Elections Commission announced that Joko, with 53 percent of the vote, had beaten Prabowo, with 47 percent. Nearly 135 million Indonesians cast ballots in the emotionally charged July 9 election, in which voters chose a new president for the first time in 10 years.

There was a huge police presence at the commission’s offices in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, on Tuesday as the vote tabulations were completed, amid rumors of violent street demonstrations by disappointed supporters of Prabowo.

As the elections commission was finishing its count and preparing to announce Joko the winner, representatives of Prabowo’s campaign staged a walkout at the commission’s office. Shortly afterward, Prabowo read an impassioned statement to supporters at his campaign headquarters saying he had withdrawn his candidacy and would reject the results.

“There has been a massive, structured, and systematic fraud,” Prabowo said.

But on Tuesday night, his brother and chief adviser, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, said Prabowo had not withdrawn his candidacy but was instead demanding time for the elections commission to investigate “serious problems” in both ballot casting and vote tabulations.

Commission officials, however, rejected his campaign’s allegations and said a candidate’s withdrawal would have no bearing on the election results.

Hashim said Prabowo’s campaign team had not yet decided whether to appeal the election results to the Indonesian Constitutional Court.

The court has the sole authority to order recounts or new voting, and its decisions are binding. But analysts said it was highly unlikely that any ruling would overturn the final national result, given the 8 million vote margin of Joko’s victory.

The announcement Tuesday was not a surprise. Hours after the polls closed July 9, the results of quick counts conducted by well-established polling firms showed Joko with a lead of 4 to 6 percentage points. Prabowo, however, pointed to other firms, trusted by his campaign but dismissed as unreliable by independent analysts, that put him ahead.

Joko has pledged to bring more “people-centric” governance and policies to Indonesia, which, despite being a member of the G-20 group of major economies, has more than 100 million people living on $2 a day or less.

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