Public getting weary of Prabowo challenge

Public getting weary of Prabowo challenge
Prabowo Subianto, leader of the Red-and-White Coalition.

AS LAWYERS for defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto submitted a revised document outlining their case to the Constitutional Court yesterday, a new survey showed that if a fresh election were held, President-elect Joko Widodo's share of the vote would rise by nearly 4 percentage points to 57.06 per cent.

The judges had taken the lawyers to task over their shoddy work on Wednesday and had given them one day to hand in an improved version.

"We worked overnight to clean this up and added 50 pages after amendments," lawyer Alamsyah Hanafiyah told The Straits Times at the court.

"The entire stock of legal documents can fill five trucks now," claimed fellow lawyer S.H. Sahroni.

Mr Prabowo, who has hired a 135-strong legal team, refused to concede defeat after the Election Commission (KPU) on July 22 declared his rival, Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, the winner of the July 9 election.

Instead, the former special forces general and his running mate Hatta Rajasa, together with their coalition partners, are questioning the integrity of the electoral process.

They claim that 56,000 polling booths were tampered with, putting in question the validity of some 23 million votes.

The Prabowo camp is challenging the election result in the Constitutional Court, insisting that he won 50.25 per cent of the 133 million valid votes cast to defeat Mr Joko by some 700,000 votes.

If the court fails to recognise this, Mr Prabowo will demand re-elections or recounts in 10 provinces.

Adding a new twist yesterday, a group of 18 lawyers calling itself the Coalition of Advocates for Democracy submitted its own proposal to be included as an independent party to the legal dispute.

Lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said he and the other group members want the court to reject the Prabowo-Hatta case, arguing that the Prabowo camp has no legal standing after it announced its withdrawal from the electoral process on the day that the KPU announced the official result.

Even as lawyers hunker down for their court showdown, Indonesians signalled they are getting weary of the issue.

A nationwide survey of 1,200 respondents by Indonesia Survey Circle (LSI) from Aug 4 to 6 found that 78.11 per cent hoped that the losing party will concede defeat and respect the verdict of the Constitutional Court.

"This means that the public is already tired with election issues and disputes," said LSI analyst Ade Mulyana.

Nearly 68 per cent of respondents believed the official result to be true. The KPU said Mr Joko won 53.15 per cent of the votes, beating Mr Prabowo by a huge margin of 8.4 million votes.

Only two in 10, or 19 per cent, rejected the result.

Mr Ade noted that Mr Prabowo's prestige took a serious beating after the public perceived that he and Mr Hatta had lacked magnanimity in their response to the official results.

"The public also took a negative view of Prabowo-Hatta's claim to victory based on results from unreliable quick counts, and their dramatic withdrawal from the electoral process hours before KPU announced the official result," said Mr Ade.

"These are seen as attempts to delegitimise the electoral process and KPU."

The court hearing resumes today when the KPU will present its case.

The ruling by the nine-judge panel is final, and will be issued by Aug 21.

This article was first published on August 8, 2014.
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