An attempt by ex-general Prabowo Subianto to overturn the Indonesian vote that elevated Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo to the presidency is set to hinge on nine justices in a test of the highest court for election matters. Prabowo’s lawyer said the Suharto-era commando will file a suit with the Constitutional Court tomorrow questioning the validity of about 30 million votes after Widodo, known as Jokowi, won by 8.4 million ballots. Prabowo, 62, pulled out of vote counting after calling the July 9 poll “undemocratic” and riddled with fraud. Prabowo’s last-minute effort to swing the result will raise pressure on the court to issue a decision rooted in the law. Failure to deliver a clean result would be a setback for a young democracy still emerging from decades of rule by dictator Suharto, and may risk street protests that could destabilise Asia’s fifth-largest economy. “Voters believe the election was fair and from the perspective of the public it’s doubtful there’s been massive fraud,” according to Dodi Ambardi, executive director of polling agency Lembaga Survei Indonesia and a member of Persepi, an organisation of survey companies. A ruling changing the outcome “will result in unrest in Indonesian society because there will be so much evidence showing the election commission’s vote-counting process, which was done in the public eye, is being overturned.”
There were questions about voting procedures at at least 59,000 of the nation’s almost 480,000 polling stations, one of Prabowo’s lawyers Didi Supriyanto said yesterday, a day after official results were announced. Proof of fraud would be included in the plea to be filed to the court, which was about democratic fairness and not just about Prabowo becoming president, he said.
“We will not relinquish our push for transparency until the government investigates this evidence,” said Tantowi Yahya, a spokesman for the Prabowo camp. “This is important to ensure a legitimate incoming government and president that will establish political certainty and stability.”
Financial markets welcomed the official results showing Jokowi won with 53.15 per cent of the vote, with the rupiah rising 0.9 per cent yesterday and the Jakarta Composite index of shares gaining 0.2 per cent. The rupiah was 0.3 per cent lower against the dollar at 12.48pm in Jakarta, at 11,543.
US President Barack Obama called Jokowi to congratulate him on his victory and “noted that through this free and fair election, the people of Indonesia have once again shown their commitment to democracy,” the White House said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.