Jakarta: A day after Indonesia`s Presidential Elections failed to produce a clear winner, Jakarta`s police chief promised to prevent violence by cracking down on anyone celebrating prematurely.
With both candidates continuing to claim victory, the next leader of the world`s third-largest democracy could be decided in court.
Yesterday`s third direct presidential vote went smoothly, but fears of unrest surfaced after Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo and ex-Army general Prabowo Subianto both declared a win after the quick count results were released.
The apparent deadlock has raised fears of political instability in the world`s most populous Muslim nation and Southeast Asia`s biggest economy. It could not only stymie the economic development but also stall the nation`s young democracy, which has just begun to flourish after decades of authoritarian rule.
Widodo, known as Jokowi, came out ahead with 52 per cent of the vote, according to the three most credible unofficial quick counts. But Subianto pointed to lesser-known surveys showing he came out on top, but later said he would consider the election commission`s announcement in two weeks as the "only formal result of the election."
Both candidates met separately in private meetings with outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday night.
Widodo emerged afterward to ask supporters, who were setting off fireworks, waving flags and riding motorbikes around the heart of the capital, to stand down.
"We appeal to the party`s members and sympathisers, volunteers and supporters, you don`t need to parade to celebrate the Presidential Election victory. It`s better for us to pray and give thanks," he said. "We need to minimise friction that could arise."
Yudhoyono also asked both sides to "restrain themselves" and not allow their supporters to publicly declare victory prematurely.
"We will not hesitate to take firm action," said Jakarta police chief Maj Gen Dwi Priyatno. He added that security forces were working closely with both camps "to anticipate everything that could cause friction among people and lead to massive rash acts."