Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Constitutional Court begins hearing election dispute

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Supporters of Indonesian losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto shout slogans during a protest outside the Constitutional Court in Jakarta yesterday.
Supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto try to protect themselves from the riot police in a scuffle during a protest outside the local office of the General Election Commission in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, yesterday.

JAKARTA (AP):Indonesia's Constitutional Court yesterday began hearing a challenge of the result of the country's July 9 presidential election, in which Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo was declared victor.

Losing candidate Prabowo Subianto filed a complaint with the court last month, alleging that "structural, systematic and massive fraud" by the Election Commission had destroyed his chances of leading Southeast Asia's largest economy.

On July 22, the commission declared Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, the winner with 53 per cent of the votes, more than 8 million more than Subianto, a former general under long-time dictator Suharto.

Subianto's representatives walked out before the final tally was completed. The former general did not concede and called on supporters to reject the results, saying they were flawed and violated the principles of democracy.

Irregularities at polling stations

Lawyer Makdir Ismail told the court Wednesday that millions of votes cast across the archipelago were invalid due to irregularities at more than 55,000 polling stations in eight provinces, including Jakarta, East Java, Papua Barat and all 14 districts in Papua. He alleged that poll officials inflated Widodo's results, voters used improper registration cards and recounts were performed inconsistently.

Subianto's initial court documents showed his camp's own count putting him narrowly ahead with more than 67 million votes, or 50.25 per cent, and Widodo with nearly 66.5 million, or 49.74 per cent. It questioned the validity of 2.7 million votes.

"We feel very, very hurt by irregular, dishonest and unjust practices that have been shown by the election organisers," Subianto told the court.

Several hundred Subianto supporters gathered outside the court building in central Jakarta, shouting, "Long live Prabowo Subianto! The real president!"

More than 1,500 policemen were deployed to protect the court and its nine judges.