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Too Close to Call

Bali Governor Race Too Close to Call. Election Commission to Announce Results May 27, 2013

(5/19/2013) The Bali Election Commission (KPU-Bali) is at something of a quandary with both contesting parties in the May 15, 2013 gubernatorial race claiming victory.

Quoted by the States News Agency Antara, Ketut Sukawati Lanang Putra Perbawa, the chairman of KPU-Bali, said: “This condition is creating many questions among the public and clearly we have not yet issued any election results, informally or otherwise.”

The uncertain atmosphere pending the official election results announcement expected on May 27, 2013, prompted the KPU-Bali to convene a coordination meeting of island leaders to prevent rival claims of victory from dividing the community and creating unnecessary unrest.

“We will proceed according the phased schedule and provide the results of the recapitulation of votes on May 27, 2013. We hope the process will proceed peacefully without any malfeasance,” said Lanang Putra.

The phased vote counting process set by the KPU-Bali called for the count of village votes May 16-18; count of votes on the district level (kecamatan) May 19-21; and count of votes on the regency and metropolitan level May 22-24. The provincial count will occur between May 25-27.

Lanang Putra told the press that each phase of the recapitulation of votes would be witnessed by representatives of both competing parties, law enforcement authorities and an election supervisory board – all in place to prevent subsequent claims from any quarter of malfeasance in the counting of votes.

Meanwhile, unofficial “quick counts” of the vote show inconclusive results against the official margin of error. Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) showed only 0.62 percent margin dividing the two sets of candidates, well within the 1% margin of error.

A prolonged period during which Bali will not know who will serve as its next governor is becoming increasingly likely as the contending parties may appeal the results announced on May 27 and  seek a new election. Supporting such a call is concrete proof of illegal ballot formatting and a large number of documented invalid ballots cast at some polling places.