Indonesia’s Constitutional Court rejects Prabowo's election appeal
Defeated in the presidential elections, the politician complained about “structured, systematic and massive” fraud. His supporters have already rioted in Jakarta after election results were released. About 47,000 soldiers and police officers have been deployed to prevent further unrest. The authorities have warned of terrorist infiltration among the protesters.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The nine judges of the Constitutional Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Konstitusi) have rejected the appeal presented by Prabowo Subianto against the results of last April’s presidential election because the case is “baseless".
Many now fear that protests might break out outside the Constitutional Court building because of the Court's decision. In light of this, the authorities have taken massive security measures, warning of possible infiltration by terrorist groups among protesters.
On 24 May, the defeated candidate, Prabowo Subianto, filed a lawsuit demanding the cancellation of the election of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (to his second term) and his running mate for vice president, Ma'ruf Amin.
Prabowo claims that the election was marred by “structured, systematic and massive” fraud that favoured his rival. However, both the General Electoral Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum) and the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) dismissed the claim that the election had been tampered with.
In his appeal, Prabowo argued that President Widodo had used the government bureaucracy, state-owned enterprises and other institutions in his re-election campaign. The right-wing Islamist candidate also accused Widodo of using public funds and administration's programmes to influence the vote.
As he read the ruling, Justice Arief Hidayat said that the evidence presented to the Court did not prove the allegations. "The plaintiffs,” he explained, “have failed to elaborate clearly on how the allegations correlate to the vote tally”.
Justice Aswanto added that “The allegations of structured, systematic and massive fraud could not be proven and therefore the argument is legally baseless”.
On 21 May, the General Electoral Commission announced the results, indicating that Widodo and Ma'ruf had won the election with 55.5 per cent of the vote, against 44.5 per cent for Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno. About 85.6 million Indonesians out of nearly 154 million voters voted in favour of the incumbent president.
Prior to the official announcement, when Widodo's victory was already apparent, Prabowo had repeatedly urged voters to express their dissent, raising the authorities' fears.
Even prominent figures connected to Prabowo threatened to resort to people-power style action against the president and the Electoral Commission.
Immediately after the results were released, violent clashes broke out in Jakarta between Prabowo supporters and the police. On 21 and 22 May, eight people died in riots with about 900 injured.
Right after, police arrested dozens of suspected instigators, including one of Prabowo’s loyalist, former General Kivlan Zen, on charges of plotting to kill senior security officials.
To prevent further unrest by Prabowo’s supporters following the ruling, the authorities yesterday began deploying some 47,000 members of the Armed Forces and the National Police near the Constitutional Court building.
The authorities expect that 2,000 to 3,000 people will take to the streets this afternoon. It is not clear whether the protesters will challenge the ban on assembling near the Court building.
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko told the media yesterday that scores of terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the protests. However, the situation was being monitored and did not raise particular concerns.