Prabowo's intransigence leads to self-humiliation
Gerindra Party presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto humiliated himself on Tuesday by rejecting the 2014 presidential election result and pulling himself out of the election, claiming that the election was flawed and marred with widespread fraud.
In the days after election day on July 9, Prabowo said he would accept whatever decision was made by the General Elections Commission (KPU) with regard to the result.
"The 2014 presidential election overseen by KPU was riddled with problems. It was undemocratic and went against the 1945 Constitution," Prabowo said at his campaign headquarters, Polonia House in East Jakarta, on Tuesday.
Prabowo voiced his statement as the KPU was concluding the final vote recapitulation. In his speech, Prabowo instructed all members of his campaign team taking part in the KPU's plenary session to walk out in protest.
Prabowo's eleventh-hour decision was based on what he considered indications of foul play found by his campaign team. In the speech, however, Prabowo failed to disclose any proof of the alleged vote-rigging.
In the speech, he said that he had five arguments to back up his claim that the election was rigged, with the KPU not being fair or transparent as the chief reasons for his rejection.
"A lot of the regulations they made violated themselves," Prabowo said.
The former Army general also accused the KPU of ignoring recommendations made by the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) concerning foul play and errors during ballot casting and vote counting.
Wrapping up his speech, Prabowo said that his fight against the KPU was done out of respect for voters.
"We are not willing to let the mandate of the people be mocked and desecrated," he said.
Prabowo made his speech on a small stage using a normal microphone - as opposed to the vintage kind he regularly uses - in front of a crowd of local and foreign journalists, while accompanied by politicians from parties in his coalition.
Among those present were United Development Party (PPP) chairman Suryadharma Ali, Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie and the party's advisory council chairman, Akbar Tandjung, as well as National Awakening Party (PAN) secretary-general Taufik Kurniawan.Prabowo's running mate, Hatta Rajasa, was curiously absent for the whole event. Prabowo even finished his speech without mentioning Hatta.
"Jakarta, July 22, 2014. Signed by Prabowo [...] Prabowo Subianto," he concluded his statement.
Soon after the announcement, Prabowo-Hatta campaign team member Amazon Dalimun announced that former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD had resigned from his position as chairman of the Gerindra-led coalition's national campaign team.
Amazon said that Mahfud had resigned because he was no longer needed for the campaign and that he would be replaced by Lt. Gen. (ret) Yunus Yosfiah, while campaign team advisors Djoko Santoso and Gen. (ret) George Toisutta would be appointed as his deputies.Separately, Mahfud said that there was no point for him to remain on the campaign team.
"There is only one presidential candidate left in the race. The election is over," Mahfud said as he made his way out of the campaign team headquarters, on Tuesday.
Previously, Mahfud said that he would accept the KPU's decision if it said Jokowi had won the race and that he would return the mandate of leading the campaign team to Prabowo-Hatta after the announcement.
"I will not get involved if it goes to the Constitutional Court," Mahfud said.
Later on Tuesday, Prabowo-Hatta camp spokesman Tantowi Yahya said that Prabowo had only withdrawn from the KPU's vote tabulation process and not from the race.
"Let's get things straight, Prabowo did not pull out as a presidential candidate," Tantowi said.
Responding to Prabowo's intransigence, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that the losing side should be able to concede defeat.
"The President wants everyone to be able to accept the result in good nature," Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha told reporters on Wednesday night.
Separately, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said he, personally and as a legal practitioner, deplored Prabowo's move.
"It would be more dignified if [he] followed all phases of the election in an orderly manner," he said.
Meanwhile, Golkar deputy chairman Agung Laksono, also coordinating minister for people's welfare, recommended against Prabowo further contesting the election result.
"It'd be better not to take it [to the court]. The process has been objective and transparent. Let's just accept the result," said Agung.