LOSING presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, instead of conceding defeat yesterday, slammed the country's "flawed" and "undemocratic" election before declaring angrily he was pulling out of the final vote count.
"There has been a massive, structured and systematic fraud in this election," Mr Prabowo said as he read a two-page statement, hours before the official result was announced.
Accusing the Election Commission of not being fair and open in conducting the July 9 election, he said: "We will use our constitutional rights to reject this election and pull out from the ongoing process."
The former general was flanked by his coalition partners, Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie, Prosperous Justice Party chairman Anis Matta and the United Development Party's former chairman Suryadharma Ali.
His remarks caused a stir initially as some thought he said he was pulling out as an election candidate.
Such an act could be considered an offence under Indonesian law.
His brother and campaign adviser Hashim Djojohadikusumo texted reporters to say that Mr Prabowo was withdrawing from the final count and not as an election candidate.
Earlier, the Prabowo camp, which held a nearly three-hour meeting yesterday, made a last-ditch attempt to delay the announcement of the election result by two weeks. Mr Prabowo claimed his legal team also has proof that there was foreign intervention in the July 9 election.
Campaign secretary Fadli Zon and lawyer Mahendradatta, while suggesting that the Prabowo camp will not be launching a legal challenge in the Constitutional Court, said it rejects the election outcome and therefore also rejects the winner Joko Widodo.
"We are taking this stand because the complaints we lodged have been dismissed," said Mr Fadli.
Despite its defiant stand, cracks are already showing in the seven-party coalition. Mr Prabo- wo's running mate Hatta Rajasa was not present at yesterday's press conference and the one on Sunday.
National campaign chief Mahfud MD told reporters his services have ended.
Campaign team member Amazon Dalimunthe said the Red- White coalition of Prabowo-Hatta will be renamed the Red-White Team's Struggle for Justice and Truth to reflect its new direction.
Mr Prabowo told his supporters to stay calm, but added: "We are not going to sacrifice the mandate we have been given, for it to be manipulated and misused. We will not... let our democratic rights be destroyed or stolen."
This article was first published on July 23, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.