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24 Hours Across Africa

Protesters Reject Indonesia presidential Result.

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Source: Reuters

Hundreds of Indonesian took to street to protest President Joko Widodo comfortable re-election in last month’s poll.

An official count showed on Tuesday, throwing the spotlight on his opponent who refused to concede as his supporters gathered in the capital in protest at the result.

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The General Election Commission (KPU) confirmed unofficial counts by private pollsters in the April 17 election, giving Widodo a 55.5% share of votes against 44.5% for Prabowo Subianto.

Widodo won more than 85 million votes of a total of 154 million cast in the world’s third-largest democracy, but Prabowo told reporters he believed there had been widespread cheating and about 1,000 supporters gathered in a peaceful protest.

The retired general pledged he would “continue to make legal efforts in line with the constitution to defend the mandate of the people”.

Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, the legal director of Prabowo’s campaign team, confirmed it planned to contest the result in the Constitutional Court.

On Monday, an election supervisory agency dismissed claims of systematic cheating, citing a lack of evidence, and independent observers have said the poll was free and fair.

Flanked by riot police, Prabowo’s supporters were gathering mainly at the election supervisory agency (Bawaslu) in the heart of the city’s commercial and government district.

“We have a long struggle ahead of us to find the truth in this election,” one of the protest leaders shouted into a megaphone, urging people to remain peaceful.

He threatened severe punishment for criminal activity and vowed to maintain security, while denying authorities were being draconian.

The KPU announced official results more than a day earlier than expected after working into the early hours of Tuesday, a move that meant the announcement came before planned protests.

“We are grateful and proud that amid our differences, we have been mature in keeping the peace,” he said on a visit to a poor neighborhood of the capital.

Ben Bland, director of the Southeast Asia Project at Lowy Institute, said the election showed how identity and religious politics appeared to be increasingly “embedded in the political discourse in Indonesia”.

“The challenge for Jokowi is to try and find a way to defuse tensions,” said Bland, using the president’s nickname.

“On the other hand there is concern of Prabowo not accepting the result, but we can see everywhere the police and army are ready to ensure security,” Taneli said.

Prabowo had warned the cheating claims could trigger “people power”-style protests, though ahead of the result he had urged supporters in a video to be “peaceful in our struggle”.

Authorities have tightened security in the capital in a bid to choke off any civil unrest and detained dozens of militant Islamists suspected of planning attacks. Police said they had held or interrogated at least three leading opposition figures for suspected treason.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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