PRESIDENT Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged whoever loses the bitterly fought July 9 presidential election to accept defeat, one day before official tallies are widely expected to declare Mr Joko Widodo as the country's next leader.
Dr Yudhoyono's remarks were seen as heavy hints to Mr Joko's rival, former general Prabowo Subianto, who has cried foul over alleged vote-tampering, vowed to challenge the results in court, and more recently sought to delay the announcement of the result by the Indonesian Election Commission (KPU) today.
"Conceding defeat is noble. Congratulating the winner is beautiful," Dr Yudhoyono said yesterday.
He also appealed to the two candidates to ensure that their supporters remain peaceful regardless of the result.
"I remind everyone not to harm democracy but to help in maturing it," he added.
On Sunday, Dr Yudhoyono invited the two men to break fast with him at the presidential palace, where the rivals shook hands for the first time since the election.
The KPU is likely to announce that Mr Joko won about 53 per cent of the 133 million votes cast earlier this month against 47 per cent by Mr Prabowo.
The losing candidate has up to Friday to file a challenge of the result with the Constitutional Court, which will then have to issue a ruling by Aug 21.
Mr Prabowo, who has been on a decade-long quest to become president, claimed victory on July 9 shortly after Mr Joko did so, each side citing its own set of quick counts to back its claim.
Since then, Mr Prabowo and his seven-party coalition have lodged police reports alleging slander or attempts to buy or tamper with votes. On Sunday, he demanded that the result announcement be delayed as his side seeks a recount.
"If the KPU doesn't execute it, it will be violating the law and putting in question the legitimacy of the whole (electoral) process," said Mr Prabowo, flanked by top aides and coalition partners.
Campaign secretary Fadli Zon, who questioned the credibility of the KPU, declared: "We will not accept. We will file (a legal challenge). We will fight.