Prabowo withdraws from Indonesian election process
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) — About an hour before official results from Indonesia's presidential race were to be announced, one of the candidates, Prabowo Subianto announced he was rejecting the election process and withdrawing.
In a speech aired live, Prabowo cited "massive, structural and systematic cheating during the 2014 election," and declared, "We will exercise our constitutional right to reject the presidential election and declare it unconstitutional.
"We withdraw ourselves from the process."
Indonesia's election commission, the KPU, is expected to release the official presidential results from a July 9th vote Tuesday.
There had been indications that a challenge was likely to be launched from Prabowo.
Millions of Indonesians voted in a tight race between Prabowo, a former military man, and Jakarta governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
Hours after the polls closed that day, unofficial quick counts revealed a slight edge for Widodo. The quick votes, which are samples from polling stations, are usually accurate with a slim 1-2% margin of error in Indonesia. But unlike previous presidential races, this election has been neck-and-neck.
If Widodo is indeed confirmed to be the victor, he would become the first Indonesian president who did not boast a military or elite background. He declared victory after seeing results of the unofficial quick vote earlier this month, telling his supporters: "It's not a victory for the party, not a victory for the team but this is a victory for all Indonesian people."
Over the weekend, Prabowo asked the national election commission to delay the release of the results, because of what he and his camp claimed were cheating and manipulation across polling stations. He asked the election commission to stop counting the votes until the alleged cheating cases are resolved.
But on Monday the election commissioner, Arif Budiman, denied Prabowo's request to delay the release of the election results. Nearly two weeks have passed since election day, meaning the paper ballots have been counted.
Fadli Zon, one of the leaders of Prabowo's Gerindra party, said they would not accept the results and will fight "in a non-violent way."
Under Indonesia's election laws, either of the presidential candidates has the right to lodge a legal challenge in the Constitutional Court.