The first Christian governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta conceded his loss to re-election after a majority of the votes were counted on April 19, which showed he was at least 10 percentage points behind his rival.
In the count of some 80 percent of the votes, incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Purnama came in at 42 percent, trailing behind his rival Anies Baswedan at 58 percent.
Purnama, who is a double minority as a Christian and an ethnic Chinese, said after the early vote count was completed that he will continue to invest his efforts on improving infrastructure and development in Jakarta.
“We have another six months,” Purnama was quoted as saying by USA Today. “We will work fast and well to accomplish our homework and our promises. Congratulations to Anies.”
Baswedan emphasized the need for unity in his statement, saying, “We celebrate diversity … We are all ready to work together again.”
Purnama is currently embroiled in a lawsuit, which experts say likely affected the election outcome. He was accused of blaspheming and insulting the Quran in a video that went viral. Purnama has repeatedly denied the allegations, and said the video was edited.
While a conviction of blasphemy comes with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, on Thursday, prosecutors recommended two years’ probation instead. The official ruling against him comes in May, as do the official election results.
According to a CBN report, Purnama has remained positive throughout the process, and has expressed hopes to return to Indonesian politics.
“Ahok is very positive,” reported Lucille Talusan of CBN. “He says that everything is in God’s hands and that everything has a purpose.”
“Even if he is under trial for what is happening in his life, he believes that one day God is going to bring him back to his calling,” Talusan added. “The first thing in his heart is to serve his people in Indonesia.”
Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world, with a population of some 260 million Muslims making up almost 90 percent of the country.
Baswedan will assume office in October.