Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto declared victory in Wednesday's presidential election, based on surveys by private pollsters, in his third bid to lead Southeast Asia's largest democracy.

Prabowo, a former army general facing accusations of human rights violations, has won over 59 percent of the votes cast, the unofficial quick counts conducted by Politika Research & Consulting and other pollsters indicated.

Former Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan has received some 23 percent of the votes, with former Central Java Gov. Ganjar Pranowo gaining about 17 percent, according to the quick count results.

"Our victory will be the victory for all Indonesian people," Prabowo, 72, told his supporters at a sports stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta. He pledged to "lead, protect and defend all Indonesian people whatever their ethnicity, race, religion, and social backgrounds."

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (L) makes a speech at a gathering in Jakarta after declaring victory in Indonesia's presidential election on Feb. 14, 2024, next to running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

However, Ganjar, who was fielded by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-Perjuangan, and Anies, an independent candidate supported by some opposition parties, have not conceded their defeat, claiming they received reports of vote manipulation.

Prabowo lost to President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, in elections in 2014 and 2019. However, this time, Prabowo picked the outgoing president's eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as his vice presidential running mate.

Jokowi is limited to two terms under the Constitution.

Prabowo and Gibran ran for the Gerindra party, a coalition partner in Jokowi's PDI-Perjuangan government.

Jokowi has indirectly supported Prabowo's candidacy for Gerindra while maintaining distance from his ruling party and its candidate, Ganjar.

Criticism has mounted that Jokowi, constrained by a two-term limit, intends to establish a political dynasty, potentially undermining democracy in the nation, especially considering the decades of dictatorship until 1998 under Suharto, Prabowo's former father-in-law.

The candidacy of Prabowo, who had headed the army's special forces command, which allegedly kidnapped and tortured political opponents and student activists in the late 1990s, has been met with fierce opposition from victims and their families.

Prabowo has vowed to continue the key policies of Jokowi, whose infrastructure projects, such as a high-speed railway built with Chinese technology, are popular.

During Jokowi's tenure as president, Indonesia experienced fast economic growth, with gross domestic product growing over 40 percent.

Some 205 million of Indonesia's 270 million population were eligible to vote at about 820,000 polling stations across the sprawling archipelago of some 17,000 islands.

Ballot papers and boxes for some remote areas were brought there by police and military personnel using motorcycles and horses, as well as on foot, crossing rivers and jungles.

Besides deciding who will be president, Indonesians also voted to elect members of the House of Representatives, provincial and municipal-level legislative councils, as well as the Regional Representatives Council, another parliamentary chamber that has no direct power to make laws but advises the lower house.

Quick counts by the pollsters showed that the ruling PDI-Perjuangan took the lead with over 17 percent in the lower house election.

Prabowo's decision to select 36-year-old Gibran as his vice presidential candidate, despite the minimum age requirement of 40 for presidential or vice presidential candidates, followed a controversial court ruling in October. The ruling, issued by judges, including Jokowi's brother-in-law, exempted candidates who have won regional elections.

Gibran is the mayor of a city in Central Java Province.

Before Prabowo announced Gibran as his running mate, Prabowo and Ganjar had been neck and neck in the race, but Prabowo's popularity climbed following the announcement.

The court ruling has stirred debate. An ethics panel removed the chief justice, Jokowi's brother-in-law, for failing to recuse himself from the case.

The official results will be announced by the General Election Commission by March 20.

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