Prabowo told to get real about legal process

Prabowo told to get real about legal process
Losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto attends a hearing at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta on August 6, 2014. Experts have urged his party to step up their legal game or risk further embarrassing themselves by presenting weak arguments and evidence as well as ineffective witnesses in their Constitutional Court challenge of the results of the July 9 presidential election.

Experts have urged losing presidential ticket Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa to step up their legal game or risk further embarrassing themselves by presenting weak arguments and evidence as well as ineffective witnesses in their Constitutional Court challenge of the results of the July 9 presidential election.

Ray Rangkuti, director of election watchdog organisation Indonesian Civil Society Circle (Lima), said on Saturday that Prabowo and his team of lawyers needed to stop grandstanding and start taking the legal process at the court seriously.

"There is still hope as long as the losing presidential ticket, as the plaintiff, really makes effective use of the legal process at the court to defend his case," he said.

Ray suggested Prabowo, his supporters and defence team refrain from making bombastic statements, which he said had been a staple of the former lieutenant general's campaign but were out of place in the courtroom.

"Avoid using bombastic words, rhetoric and vague terms or provocative statements and be more argumentative," he said. "The court is not a stage for agitation."

In the past few days, court justices have criticised underwhelming testimony from witnesses presented by Prabowo's camp. On Friday, the justices were at turns angry and amused by Prabowo's 25 witnesses.

For example, Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva grew angry at one witness, Rahmatullah Al Amin, who told the court that significant vote-rigging had occurred in Surabaya, but when pressed for details, could only point to a newspaper clipping quoting Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini expressing joy over the Joko "Jokowi" Widodo - Jusuf Kalla pair's lead in the city as evidence. Other witnesses also failed to respond effectively to the justices' questioning.

Bendot Widoyo, a witness from Jepara, Central Java, was unable to elaborate when the panel of justices asked him for more details regarding an allegation of money politics, whereby instant noodles and cash handouts of Rp 5,000 (S$0.53) were allegedly distributed to Jokowi supporters.

"I don't know, I only received reports from volunteers," he said.

Taufik Basari, one of the lawyers representing Jokowi-Kalla, said Prabowo's petition was weak and his legal team, as well as the witnesses presented on Friday, had failed to present the court with evidence regarding some of their most damning accusations.

He said he was convinced the court would throw out Prabowo's legal challenge.

Taufik also said the Jokowi-Kalla legal team could easily gain the upper hand in the case, as it could present witnesses with strong testimonies and could present primary evidence of official election-related documents.

Political analyst Nico Harjanto of Jakarta-based pollster, the Populi Center said that so far Prabowo's legal team had presented a weak case.

Nico added it was clear the witnesses could only present second-hand observations of alleged fraud.

"They should have witnessed [the fraud] with their own eyes," he said on Saturday.

The court heard testimony from 25 witnesses from the Prabowo-Hatta camp on Friday before adjourning. The court will reconvene Monday.

Firman Wijaya, a legal representative for the Prabowo-Hatta camp, said his team would step up its game on Monday.

"First, testimony from the witnesses will be adequate to support a cross-examination of evidence. And second [we will provide] technological evidence, that for example that will prove the reliability of voter numbers in an electoral area through a demographic calculation," he said.

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