Prabowo: ‘I can bring tens of thousands of witnesses’

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Prabowo: ‘I can bring tens of thousands of witnesses’
But he only has 14 days to challenge Joko Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla's victory in Indonesia's presidential elections

SHOW OF SUPPORT. Supporters of losing Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto protest outside the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Photo by Rappler/Jet Damazo-Santos 

JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) — The camp of defeated presidential ticket Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa on Wednesday, August 6, said it could present tens of thousands of witnesses before Indonesia’s Constitutional Court  to challenge the victory of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla in the highly divisive July 9 presidential elections.

“If I may, we can bring tens of thousands of witness. If not, we have prepared a video testimonial,” Prabowo said in his speech before the court during the initial hearing for his lawsuit, his final legal recourse.

Prabowo’s camp has rejected the official election results that gave Jokowi the win with 53.15% of the votes, claiming massive, structural, and systematic fraud. On July 25, they filed a lawsuit challenging the results announced by the General Elections Commission (KPU), saying as many as 21 million votes could be in dispute following irregularities in 52,000 polling centers.

But Hamdan Zoelva, the court’s chief justice, said Prabowo does not have all the time to prove his claims.

“The law only gives 14 working days. Let us make the best of the time,” said Hamdan, the chief justice of the court who replaced Akil Mochtar, the disgraced former chief who was jailed for accepting bribes to fix local election disputes. 

The 2009 Presidential Election Law states that disputes on presidential results should only take 14 days.

Trials like this “are designed to be a quick proceeding,” Hamdan said.

In his speech, Prabowo lamented that the result of the presidential election was something that only happened in totalitarian states. He said he was supported by 7 big political parties whose votes didn’t count.

“Even in North Korea this doesn’t happen. Here it happens,” he said, adding they feel “hurt” by what he claimed was a dishonest electoral process.

“There are hundreds of polling stations where our coalition… received zero votes. This could only happen in a totalitarian country like North Korea,” he said.

Next steps

On Thursday, August 9, the court will hear from the respondents in the case, including the KPU, the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), and Jokowi and Kalla’s camp. Presentation of evidence will begin on Friday, August 8, and last until August 15. The court will then spend 5 days from August 16-20 to analyze the evidence presented before reaching a verdict, which cannot be appealed. 

KPU head Husni Kamil Manik said 16 lawyers will come to the Constitutional Court with him. Meanwhile, the Jokowi-Kalla’s camp wil be represented by 20 lawyers, among them Trimedya Panjaitan, Juniver Girsang, and human rights lawyer Taufik Basari.

The full bench of 9 judges will hear the 14-day trial at the Constitutional Court, with concerns over the impartiality of some judges raised by activists. Hamdan, for instance, was a former member of the Crescent Star Party (PBB), a member of Prabowo-Hatta’s coalition. Another judge, Patrialis Akbar, was also a member of Hatta’s National Awakening Party (PAN).

Despite this, analysts say the court will be under intense public scrutiny and pressure to maintain credibility.

Legal expert Margarito Kamis previously 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)

While analysts and observers concede there were cases of electoral fraud on both sides, these are not seen to be massive enough to overturn the election results.


Outside the court, an estimated 4,000 protesters waving flags from the various parties in Prabowo’s coalition gathered to show their support. This is far less than the 30,000 supporters Prabowo’s camp said they expected. 

“We have been treated unfairly so it is our right to get angry,” one speaker told the crowd.

Security was tight, with hundreds of riot police guarding the court and water cannons on standby in case the situation got out of hand.

Online, artists and netizens showed their support for the Constitutional Court and the KPU.

Award-winning director Joko Anwar, a supporter of Jokowi, wished the judges well in working to maintain the mandate of the people based on the KPU’s results.

Meanwhile, Nia Dinata, film producer and director wished for a smooth trial, saying it’s no longer the era of large mass protests.

– with reports from Agence France-Presse/

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