05/24/2019, 16.47
INDONESIA
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After losing at the polls, Subianto appeals to Constitutional Court

by Mathias Hariyadi

The nine-judge panel will rule on charges of irregularities and systematic fraud. Expert believes “The Constitutional Court will certainly ignore Subianto’s allegations, like in 2014." Many Indonesians blame him for instigating this week’s street riots. On social media, the #ArrestPrabowo hashtag has been trending.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Prabowo Subianto (pictured) has decided to take his protest from the streets to the courtroom, challenging the results of last April’s presidential election that saw the re-election of  President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

This afternoon, the losing candidate took his case to the nine-member Constitutional Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Konstitusi, Mk), which will rule on allegations of vote irregularities and systematic fraud.

After two days of violent clashes in the capital between Subianto supporters and police, Widodo today said he hoped to meet his rival to ease tensions. The president said that his outgoing vice president, Jusuf Kalla, held talks with Subianto last night but did not say what they discussed.

For J Kristiadi, a senior fellow of the Centre for Strategic of International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesian politics is the object of “psychological warfare between reality and disappointment."

Speaking to AsiaNews, the expert explained that the strategy pursued by Subianto and his associates has failed. In recent weeks, the opposition has tried to delegitimise the General Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU), denouncing "rigged elections" even before the polls had closed.

Subianto refused to acknowledge his defeat, calling on his supporters to show their opposition in the streets. Some of his allies, like Muhammad Amien Rais, first called for people’s power style protests and then for a "jihad movement".

"When you mention expressions such as people’s power or jihad movement, you must have a plausible enemy to attack,” Kristiadi said. “In this case we are talking about Widodo, a devout Muslim, and his running mate, Kiai Hajj Ma'ruf Amin, former head of the influential Ulema Council of Indonesia (MUI) and a leading figure of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).” The latter is the country’s largest moderate Islamic organisation.

“Both are unassailable figures. In terms of votes, there is a difference of 15 million votes between Widodo and Subianto. It will certainly not be easy to prove systematic irregularities. Furthermore, the president and Ma’ruf Amin have been declared winners by the KPU. The Constitutional Court will certainly ignore Subianto’s allegations, like in 2014."

In light of the violence that shook the Indonesian capital, the #ArrestPrabowo hashtag has been trending on social media, especially after police reported that the Islamic State (IS) group had infiltrated the protests.

Subianto, who was married to the daughter of the late dictator Haji Mohammad Suharto, has also had to face accusations of human rights violations dating back to his time as an army general. Most Indonesians blame him for instigating this week’s riots

Many Indonesians are also critical of Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, a Subianto backer, especially his lenient attitude towards protesters: hospital visits to the injured, statements about the unconfirmed number of deaths, condolences to families and calls for free medical treatments. For many, Baswedan acted as if the rioters were actually the injured party.

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