Sat, Jul 26, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Indonesia’s Subianto to seek new vote

COURT CHALLENGE:The defeated presidential candidate alleged ‘massive’ fraud in the elections and faced an evening deadline yesterday to challenge official results


Prabowo Subianto, the former general who has refused to concede defeat in Indonesia’s presidential contest, was seeking voting to be redone in as many as six provinces with a legal challenge yesterday.

Subianto’s campaign has 10 tonnes of documentary evidence that alleges “massive” and systemic fraud in the July 9 vote, his brother and economic adviser Hashim Djojohadikusumo said in an interview yesterday.

If the constitutional suit fails, Subianto, 62, will concede and then “harass” the government with an active parliamentary opposition, although he will not plan to stand again for election in 2019, Hashim said.

Ex-general Subianto faced an evening deadline to challenge official results on July 22 that showed he lost to Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo by more than eight million votes.

Subianto is seeking a fair process, Hashim said, even as his stance has created uncertainty for voters and investors in Asia’s fifth-biggest economy.

“The main basis of the challenge is that the election commission has not acted even according to their own rules,” Hashim, a businessman and son of former Indonesian minister of finance Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, said at his office in Jakarta.

“I think we can prove it. We have an enormous amount of evidence,” he added.

Subianto’s legal team said he would file a suit with the Constitutional Court last night questioning procedures at about 59,000 polling stations. Subianto has called the poll “undemocratic.”

Subianto’s team asked police to investigate reports from his team’s poll witnesses that some ballot boxes were opened at the wrong time, said Mohamad Taufik, the head of the Subianto campaign team in Jakarta.

“We think this is criminal,” he said. “Our witnesses came and were surprised.”

The last-minute effort to swing the result will raise pressure on a court previously tainted by corruption to issue a decision rooted in the law. Failure to do so would be a setback for a young democracy still emerging from decades of rule by former Indonesian dictator Suharto and may risk street protests.

Widodo, known as Jokowi, has not commented on Subianto’s allegations, instead calling for national unity after the most divisive election since Indonesia returned to democracy when Suharto was ousted in 1998.

The campaign between Widodo, 53, and Subianto, a former special forces boss once married to Suharto’s daughter, split the country between those looking for a more liberal democracy and those nostalgic for a leader who projects strength.

The court would have about a week to decide whether to accept Subianto’s case, according to court legislation. If it chooses to do so, the judges would hear arguments next month and rule by Aug. 24, in time for the next president to take over on Oct. 20, when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second term ends. The court’s decision, which does not require a consensus, is final.

After the July 9 vote both candidates claimed victory based on unofficial quick counts — though all the counts by survey companies that agreed to be audited showed Jokowi winning — and called on supporters to guard against manipulation of the formal tally.

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