Jakarta, May 21 (AP/UNB) — Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has been elected for a second term, official results showed Tuesday, in a victory over a would-be strongman who aligned himself with Islamic hardliners.
Official counting was completed just before midnight and the Election Commission announced the formal result early Tuesday. It said Widodo won 55.5% of the vote in the April 17 election to 45.5% for his challenger, ultra-nationalist former general Prabowo Subianto.
Thousands of police and soldiers are on high alert in the capital Jakarta, anticipating protests from supporters of Subianto, who refuses to concede defeat. The Election Commission's headquarters in central Jakarta are barricaded with razor wire and heavily guarded.
Subianto, who also lost to Widodo in 2014, has alleged massive election fraud in the world's third-largest democracy but hasn't provided any credible evidence. Votes are counted publicly and the commission posts the tabulation form from each polling station on its website, allowing for independent verification.The formal result was almost the same as the preliminary "quick count" results drawn from a sample of polling stations on election day.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, is an outpost of democracy in a Southeast Asian neighborhood of authoritarian governments and is forecast to be among the world's biggest economies by 2030. A second term for Widodo, the first Indonesian president from outside the Jakarta elite, could further cement the country's two decades of democratization.
Widodo's campaign highlighted his progress in poverty reduction and improving Indonesia's inadequate infrastructure with new ports, toll roads, airports and mass rapid transit. Subianto ran a fear-based campaign, emphasizing what he sees as Indonesia's weakness and the risk of exploitation by foreign powers or disintegration. He aligned himself with hardline Muslim groups and won massive majorities in conservative provinces but was defeated by Widodo in his populous East Java and Central Java strongholds.
Subianto declared himself the winner last month and in a video released after results were announced Tuesday again refused to concede defeat but called on supporters to refrain from violence.
Under Indonesia's election law, Subianto can dispute the results at the Constitutional Court.
He and members of his campaign team have said they will mobilize "people power" for days of street protests rather than appeal to the court because they don't believe it will provide justice.
"We reject the results of the presidential election," said Azis Subekti, one of the witnesses for Subianto at the official declaration of results. "This refusal is a moral responsibility for us to not give up the fight against injustice, fraud, arbitrariness, lies, and any actions that will harm democracy."
Police this month have arrested 31 Islamic militants they say planned to set off bombs during expected street protests against the election result.
The Election Commission said Widodo won in 21 of 34 provinces and got 85.6 million votes compared with about 68.5 million for Subianto.
Copenhagen, May 20 (AP/UNB) — Swedish authorities on Monday issued a request for a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now jailed in Britain, a Swedish prosecutor said.
Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson says if the Swedish court decided to detain Assange "on probable cause suspected for rape ... I will issue a European Arrest Warrant."
The development sets up a possible future tug-of-war between Sweden and the United States over any extradition of Assange from Britain.
Assange was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up with political asylum since 2012. He was then immediately arrested by British police on April 11 and is currently serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for jumping bail in 2012.
The Australian secret-spiller also faces a U.S. extradition warrant for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
Persson said Monday that British authorities will decide any conflict between a European arrest warrant and U.S. extradition request for Assange.
On May 13, Swedish prosecutors reopened a preliminary investigation against Assange, who visited Sweden in 2010, after two Swedish women said they were the victims of sex crimes committed by Assange.
While a case of alleged sexual misconduct against Assange in Sweden was dropped in 2017 when the statute of limitations expired, a rape allegation remains. Swedish authorities have had to shelf it because Assange was living at the embassy at the time and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden.
The statute of limitations in the rape case expires in August next year. Assange has denied wrongdoing, asserting that the allegations were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.
Persson said the day and time for the detention hearing at the Uppsala District Court north of Stockholm that will make the decision has not yet been decided.
"However, in my view, the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the proceedings in the U.K.," Persson said in a statement.
Kiev, May 20 (AP/UNB) — Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in as the country's new president on Monday, promised to stop the war in the country's east against Russian-backed separatists and immediately disbanded parliament, which he has branded as a group only interested in self-enrichment.
Even before he disbanded the Supreme Rada, which had been one of his campaign promises, the 41-year-old Zelenskiy had upended the traditions of Ukrainian politics.
He ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, he was giving high-fives to some spectators and even stopped to take a selfie with one of them.
Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the Supreme Rada to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motions to fire the country's defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost the presidential election in a landslide to the comedian with no previous political experience.
In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.
"I'm ready to do everything so that our heroes don't die there," he said. "I'm ready to lose my popularly and, if necessary, I'm ready to lose my post so that we have peace."
Zelenskiy garnered 73% of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians' exhaustion with politics-as-usual. For years, he has played the Ukrainian president in a popular television show.
The new president wrapped up his speech at parliament by referring to his career as a comedian.
"Throughout all of my life, I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians laugh," he said with a smile. "In the next five years I will do everything so that Ukrainians don't cry."
Cairo, May 20 (AP/UNB) — Egypt says security forces killed 12 members of a militant group with suspected links to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in shootouts in Cairo, just hours after a roadside bomb struck a tourist bus near the Giza Pyramids, wounding at least 17.
The Interior Ministry says seven of the militants were killed in a firefight when police raided their hideout in the Sixth of October suburb. The remaining five were shot and killed after opening fire on police storming their residences in Cairo's Shorouk suburb.
The ministry says explosive devices, weapons and ammunition were found in the militants' possession. It says the militants belonged to "Hasm," an armed faction of the Brotherhood.
Sunday's roadside bomb wounded at least 17 people including South African tourists.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Beijing, May 20 (AP/UNB) — At least three people were killed and four others buried in the collapse of a building in southern China on Monday, authorities said.
Framework surrounding a bar in the city of Baise in Guangxi province gave way at around 1 a.m., trapping or injuring almost 100 people.
The local government said in a statement on its microblog that 87 people were injured. Rescuers were using search dogs and electronic monitors to try to find other survivors.
The bar was located on the top of a three-story, steel-framed building.
China has recently suffered a spate of building collapses and other industrial accidents largely blamed on the skirting of safety requirements amid a slowing economy.
On Thursday, a building being refurbished collapsed in Shanghai, and in March, 78 people were killed in a blast at a chemical plant in the country's east.
In November, at least 22 were killed in an explosion outside a chemical plant in the northeastern city of Zhangjiakou, which will host competitions in the 2022 Winter Olympics.