Prabowo team gathering proof to challenge election result

Prabowo team gathering proof to challenge election result

EVEN as the vote counting continues ahead of the official announcement of the Indonesian presidential election result on July 22, the team of contender Prabowo Subianto is busy building up a case to challenge the outcome in the Constitutional Court and in the court of public opinion.

His team has been gathering proof to support the case that the vote gathering was flawed.

The Prabowo team's chief legal adviser, Mr Habiburokhman, told reporters: "We are focusing on three issues - money politics, snatching of results forms in some areas, and suspected bias of officials."

Former army general Prabowo and his running mate, former minister Hatta Rajasa, stood against Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and former vice-president Jusuf Kalla, popularly called JK, in the July 9 election.

Mr Habiburokhman said the team has prepared 2,000 lawyers across Indonesia, adding: "If Prabowo-Hatta are declared winners, we are ready to face lawsuits from Jokowi-JK. If Jokowi-JK win, we are prepared to challenge the election results."

Mr Prabowo's brother and campaign adviser, Mr Hashim Djojohadikusumo, said he has evidence of a pollster using money to canvass for votes for Mr Joko.

Mr Hashim has lodged police reports against two pollsters as well for being partisan.

He has also alleged that 250,000 fictitious voters cast ballots in Jakarta and is looking into similar claims elsewhere.

While most independent observers see Mr Joko as the winner of the presidential election based on quick counts carried out by eight credible polling agencies, the disputed results have put pressure on the Election Commission (KPU) to ensure that the vote-counting process is clean.

Mr Prabowo used quick count results from four polling agencies with hazy track records to claim that he had won.

The Prabowo team's protests about vote buying and irregular electoral rolls suggest that it is looking beyond the final vote tally by the KPU and aiming at buttressing its case before the Constitutional Court.

"We will continue to see this counter-information, suggestions, raising of questions by a very well-equipped and very well-armed team which will back their claims up with several individual cases," said Jakarta-based political analyst Kevin Evans.

Analysts say the moves are also part of a wider attempt at steering public opinion.

This began with Mr Prabowo declaring victory, then going on to disparage the quick counts as flawed, said Mr Philips Vermonte of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

"These are all part of a political game to muddy the lines," he claimed.

The Constitutional Court has to make a decision within 14 days once the case is filed. It has the power to declare the winner based on the evidence before it, or it could order recounts, or call for fresh elections in certain constituencies.

Still, some experts like Indonesia watcher Marcus Mietzner of the Australian National University say that, given the large contested margin of about seven million votes, it is unlikely Mr Prabowo can whittle down his rival's lead to declare victory.

About 130 million Indonesians voted in the July 9 election.

This article was first published on July 17, 2014.
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