On Wednesday this week a team of 95 lawyers representing defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto will head to Indonesia’s Constitutional Court as part of a last-ditch effort to nullify the results of this year’s election. It is the first hearing of an extremely ambitious legal challenge which aims to discredit at least 4.2 million votes and bring about repeat elections in allegedly fraud-ridden constituencies – an outcome so unrealistic that even Prabowo’s former campaign manager has denounced the appeal as “pointless”. Following on from the bogus quick count extravaganza, which led to Prabowo’s original declaration of victory shortly after voting ended on July 9, the court case is the latest addition to his manifold attempts to manipulate and ultimately steal this year’s presidential contest. But for those readers who have finally succumbed to Indonesian election fatigue, you will be pleased to know that Prabowo’s Constitutional Court appeal is the very last chance for the tormented old general to overturn rival Jokowi’s victory, and it’s almost certainly bound to fail. Not only do the laws of probability suggest that proving 4.2million fraudulent ballots is a lost cause, but Prabowo’s chances of launching a post-results day comeback have been further dashed by his own attorneys’ careless penmanship.
Public scrutiny of the finalised appeal, which was submitted to court on July 25, has revealed a shambles of a legal document – ridden with typographical errors, inconsistencies and all manner of unsubstantiated or ambiguous claims. In a section on violations in West Papua, for example, the wording of the document appears to incriminate Prabowo’s own ticket – number 1. on the ballot papers – rather than his opponent Jokowi, who stood as candidate number 2. Arguably even more unforgivable is the presence of erroneous calculations in crucial parts of the document, such as Prabowo’s own version of the final vote tally, which indicates that he won the election by 0.51 percent of votes, but the total number of votes taken into account only adds up 99.99 percent.
As a recent article on Rappler.com points out, things get even scrappier once the document moves into the realm of specific accusations. Ballot fraud is alleged to have occurred in the Timor Tengah Utara district of East Nusa Tenggara province, for example, but the names of the exact polling stations where the violations supposedly took place are not even referred to in the text. Similarly, in the controversial case of West Papua province, various civil servants from nine different districts are alleged to have lobbied local tribal leaders to produce bloc votes for Jokowi, but the suspects in question are not named. Moreover, as Rappler’s correspondent rightly points out, this particular form of proxy voting – known in Indonesian as the noken system and commonly used by Papuan tribes – has been declared legal in three separate Constitutional Court rulings since 2009, a fact to which Prabowo’s legal scriptwriters appear to be oblivious.