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JAKARTA  –  Indonesia’s Prabowo Subianto has been elected president of the world’s third-biggest democracy, the elec­tions commission said Wednesday, beating two rivals who have vowed to file legal complaints about the vote. 

The fiery defence minister and his vice presidential running mate Gi­bran Rakabuming Raka — eldest son of outgoing leader Joko Widodo — already declared victory last month after unofficial counts showed them winning a majority.

They were officially confirmed as winners Wednesday after receiving more than 96 million votes, commis­sion chairman Hasyim Asy’ari said, roughly 58.6 percent of the total and enough to secure a first-round major­ity. “This decision is effective imme­diately as of March 20,” Asy’ari said. 

Anies Baswedan secured 24.9 per­cent of the vote, while Ganjar Prano­wo received more than 16 percent.

More than 164 million Indone­sians voted, representing around an 80 percent turnout of eligible voters.

Prabowo, 72, was widely predict­ed to win the presidency on his third attempt. He takes over in October after a transition period.

Speaking outside his house in the capital Jakarta to thunderous ap­plause from supporters, Prabowo thanked Indonesians and his party for helping him rise to the country’s highest office.

“We are grateful to the God Al­mighty for the official announce­ment from the KPU on the results of the election,” he said, referring to the elections commission.

“We would like to convey our grati­tudes and the highest appreciation for all the people of Indonesia who have exercised their rights to vote.”

His popularity soared because of what experts said was his nation­alist verve in populist speeches, strongman credentials as defence minister and backing from Widodo, more popularly known as Jokowi.

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