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Jakarta Post

Prabowo camp divided over plan to contest poll result

Prabowo camp divided over plan to contest poll result
Bagus BT Saragih and Margareth S. Aritonang
Jakarta   ●   Tue, July 22, 2014

For national unity: Din Syamsuddin (left), chairman of the Islamic organization Muhammadiyah, attends an inter-faith meeting in Jakarta on Monday. Leaders of various religious organizations made a national declaration in which they urged people to safeguard national unity. The declaration was made ahead of the announcement of the presidential election results. JP/AWO

Members of the Red and White Coalition supporting the Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa presidential ticket have voiced their objection to the camp'€™s plan to challenge the final election result at the Constitutional Court, a move that analysts have seen as a gambit by the members to join the camp of front-runner Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo.

Fractures within Prabowo'€™s Gerindra Party-led coalition, which have been visible since credible pollsters'€™ quick counts put the rival '€œJokowi'€-Jusuf Kalla ticket in the lead, are intensifying.

Some top politicians from parties supporting Prabowo have insisted on not conceding defeat if the General Elections Commission'€™s (KPU) final tally, scheduled to be announced today, puts the ticket on the losing side.

Others have urged Prabowo and Hatta to concede defeat and congratulate Jokowi-Kalla as soon as possible, something that many doubt Prabowo would do.

As of Monday evening, official vote recapitulation by the KPU put Jokowi in the lead by about 5 to 6 percent.

'€œIt'€™d be better not to take it [to the Constitutional Court]. The process has been objective and transparent. Let'€™s just accept the result,'€ Agung Laksono, Golkar Party deputy chairman, which supports Prabowo-Hatta, said on Monday.

In particular, Agung encouraged Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie to set an example by congratulating Jokowi, in order to ease tensions between supporters of the two tickets.

Aside from Gerindra and Golkar, other parties supporting Prabowo'€™s bid are Hatta'€™s National Mandate Party (PAN), President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono'€™s Democratic Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB).

Excluding the Democratic Party, six of the parties have signed a permanent coalition pact and are expected to maintain the grouping regardless of the final election result. Analysts, however, have deemed the pact non-binding and ineffective in preventing the parties from leaving the coalition.

Also on Monday, Democratic Party secretary-general Edhie '€œIbas'€ Baskoro Yudhoyono indicated that the ruling party could end up supporting Jokowi'€™s administration, should the latter win.

'€œOur party'€™s stance is not yet decided. We will have further discussions on whether we will be inside or outside the government after the KPU announces its official result,'€ said Ibas, who is also Yudhoyono'€™s youngest son, as quoted by kompas.com.

PPP secretary-general M. Romahurmuziy claimed that the Red and White Coalition was prepared to accept the final vote tally as released by the KPU. '€œIt'€™s still possible, however, that we might file a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court if we consider the final vote tally to be unfair,'€ he said.

PPP deputy chairman Suharso Monoarfa even claimed that the party would immediately shift its support to Jokowi-Kalla, should the ticket be declared the winner by the KPU.

'€œPPP'€™s chief patron, who is highly respected, Maimun Zubair, has mandated that the party respect any decision issued by the KPU and support the new government. I think his message is very clear,'€ he said.

In comparison, Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, a member of PKS'€™ board of patrons, said that his party would support Prabowo'€™s plan to challenge the result if the former commander of the Army'€™s Special Forces (Kopassus) lost the election.

'€œEighty percent of the witnesses from Prabowo'€™s camp are from the PKS. Thus we have the data and we will compare ours [with that from the KPU]. Thus, I fully support if we challenge the result at the Constitutional Court later,'€ Tifatul said.

Mahfud MD, the head of Prabowo'€™s campaign team, clarified on Monday that he would not concede defeat before the official vote tally announcement.

The former Constitutional Court chief justice, however, acknowledged that he would accept the KPU'€™s decision if it said Jokowi had won the race.

He also said that he would return the mandate of leading the campaign team to Prabowo-Hatta after the announcement.

'€œI will not get involved if it goes to the Constitutional Court,'€ Mahfud said, adding that it could be unethical for him to do so given his status as the court'€™s former chairman.