Weak lawsuit leads Prabowo to claim more vote rigging

While struggling to amend errors in documents supporting a challenge to presidential election results at the Constitutional Court, the campaign team for the Gerindra Party's presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, has claimed that it has found more evidence of election fraud in the July 9 poll.

Campaign team member Andre Rosiade said on Friday that the team had found indications of vote rigging in almost half of all polling stations during the presidential election.

"We are asking this case to include 210,000 polling stations that relate to 50 million voters," he told The Jakarta Post, adding that fraud happened nationwide and that the new cases would be added to the lawsuit to be heard by a panel of judges.

Prabowo's camp previously claimed that fraud had occurred at 52,000 polling stations and had affected 21 million votes in its initial lawsuit filed at the court on July 25, enough to sway the official results of the election from the victory of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)'s ticket Joko "Jokowi" Widodo-Jusuf Kalla to the pairing of Prabowo and his running mate Hatta Rajasa.

After flaws were found in the lawsuit, the court gave the Prabowo side until Aug. 6, when the first hearing is to be held, for corrections to be made.

The team instead used the extra time to claim more cases of fraud, which might be considered unacceptable by the panel of judges.

The new cases have not as yet been reported to the court.

Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) executive director Veri Junaidi said that the advocate team was not supposed to adding new cases on top of the ones already included in the lawsuit submitted to the court.

"The principle is that the lawsuit should be submitted within 3 times 24 hours since the announcement of the official vote tally results by the KPU," he said. "In my opinion, all of the substantial contents of the documents should be submitted within the time period. After that, they should not add contested subject."

Likewise, Constitutional Court secretary-general Janeddri M Gaffar said that court regulations only allowed a plaintiff to amend errors found in its initial document, but not to add cases.

"But let's just wait for the panel of judges [to decide on the matter]," he told the Post.

Andre said the team was upbeat that it would succeed in contesting the official vote count by the General Elections Commission (KPU) since it had evidence, including that found in Papua, where Jokowi garnered 2 million votes despite no election reportedly being held in 14 regencies.

The KPU refuted the claim, saying that fraud only occurred in two districts in Dogiai regency and that the Election Supervisory Committee (Bawaslu) had recommended the local KPU (KPUD) conduct a revote.

Prabowo's legal team member Didi Supriyadi said the team would keep updating the lawsuit with any findings on election fraud and that the updates would be presented to the court.

"We still have new findings and they keeps growing," he told the Post on Friday.

Until the first hearing, the team will keep modifying the lawsuit, he added.

Didi said the team had been working tirelessly to amend the errors in the initial lawsuit document submitted to the court, such as blank columns and data that were merely copy and pasted from one column to another.

Veri lambasted Prabowo's team of lawyers, saying that it was a shame that the legal team, which consisted of 95 lawyers, could not prepare more credible documents within the allocated time.

"It's better for Prabowo's camp to focus on regions where there were strong indications of fraud, rather than expanding the lawsuit to all regions [but compromising the quality of the documents]," he said.