Prabowo files legal challenge vs election result

ATA, L Cui San
Almost a million documents, including 52,000 vote tabulation sheets called C1 forms, will be submitted as evidence

FIGHTING ON. Prabowo Subianto addresses Indonesians through a video uploaded on YouTube on Friday, July 25, before his lawyers filed a case challenging election results that showed him losing to Joko Widodo. Rappler image.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa went to the Constitutional Court (MK) on Friday, July 25, to formally challenge the official results of Indonesia’s presidential election. 

The General Elections Commission (KPU) on Tuesday, July 22, declared Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and running mate Jusuf Kalla the winners of the July 9 election with 53.15% of some 133 million votes cast. This gives them a lead of more than 8.4 million votes over Prabowo and Hatta. (READ: It’s official: Joko won Indonesia election)

But Prabowo’s team has alleged that as many as 21 million votes could be in dispute following irregularities in 52,000 polling centers.

“We will still continue our struggle, our struggle to save Indonesia. We want real democracy, we want justice, and we are willing to risk everything for the sake of justice,” Prabowo said, adding they had nearly a million documents as evidence. 

His running mate Hatta, the former economics minister who was notably absent when Prabowo declared his rejection of the results on Tuesday, appeared with the former general on Friday evening. Earlier on Friday, he said he believed this constitutional step to settle the dispute will become a form of political education for Indonesia in the future.

“I believe MK will issue a verdict based on truth and justice. And we should respect its verdict,” Hatta tweeted from his official Twitter account, @hattarajasa.

Their lawyer, Habibirokhman, said earlier on Friday they would submit 52,000 C1 forms – or vote tabulation sheets – to the court as evidence, as well as with video footage taken by volunteers showing electoral fraud.   

“We also have about 500 witnesses ready to testify,” he said. 

SHOW OF SUPPORT. Prabowo supporters protest outside the Constitutional Court in Jakarta on July 25, 2014. Photo by EPASupporters outside the court held banners demanding a revote and vowing “revolution” if his challenge fails.

“We won’t let this country be led by the other camp. They will allow foreign intervention and communism,” one protestor shouted to supporters, echoing comments made by Prabowo and his spokesmen during the campaign period.

Filing a case with the Constitutional Court is the losing presidential candidate’s final legal recourse. If electoral fraud is found, the court could order a revote or recount.  

The head of the Constitutional Court, Hamdan Zoelva, said they will start hearing the case on August 6. He will lead a full bench of 9 judges, which is expected to issue a verdict on August 21. The verdict cannot be appealed.

“We will take into consideration and verify all the evidence brought to the court,” Hamdan told reporters.

The court was once the country’s most-respected judicial institution. However, its reputation was damaged when its former chief, Akil Mochtar, was jailed for accepting bribes to fix local election disputes. Analysts say it would now be pressured to restore its credibility.

Hamdan reiterated the court’s commitment to work independently, saying the verdict would be decided based solely on evidence.

Legal expert Margarito Kamis said it would be hard for the Prabowo camp to overturn the result of the election. “It is complicated to prove that millions of votes were cheated,” he said.

The divisive nature of the July 9 presidential election and dual victory claims based on different quick counts led to an unprecedented level of monitoring of the recapitulation process. Volunteers from both camps monitored the counting at the polling centers, and the KPU uploaded all the C1 forms – almost 480,000 in total – which volunteer initiatives encoded and counted. KPU’s official results in favor of Jokowi are consistent with the volunteer and quick counts.  (READ: On Prabowo’s ‘we was robbed’ claims)

This is not the first time for Prabowo to challenge a presidential election result. In 2009, Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairwoman of Jokowi’s political party – and her running mate at the time Prabowo also challenged the result in favor of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. They lost. – additional reporting from Agence France-Presse/

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