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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's poll body fights back

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 19, 2019   /   08:29 am
Indonesia's poll body fights back Little Avengers: Activists wearing costumes of Avengers superheroes and Gatotkaca, a character from Javanese folklore, pose for a photo with posters calling for peace near the Constitutional Court on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta on Tuesday to demonstrate against riots. The rally participants, who are members of Koalisi Indonesia Rukun (Harmonious Indonesia Coalition), made the decision to gather after the May 21-22 postelection riots. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The legal battle over the presidential election result is continuing at the Constitutional Court, with the General Elections Commission (KPU) and incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo rebutting all allegations of electoral fraud filed by challenger Prabowo Subianto.

Tuesday saw lawyers representing the two parties taking turns to point out that Prabowo and running mate Sandiaga Uno —  the plaintiffs in the case — had failed to present strong arguments and evidence to back up their claim that there had been “structured, systematic and massive fraud” to rig the election in Jokowi’s favor.

By the court’s definition, such electoral fraud was defined as a carefully planned violation that structurally involved officials and election organizers, said Ali Nurdin, a lawyer representing the KPU in the case.

Ali said Prabowo’s legal team — which largely cited news reports as the basis of its arguments in the lawsuit — had failed to elaborate on how the KPU was involved in the alleged election-rigging attempts and how far the allegations were correlated to the vote tally secured by each presidential candidate, he said.

The camp had also failed to mention the relationship between the alleged fraud and how it had affected voters as they exercised their right to vote for their preferred presidential candidate, or how it had tarnished the quality of the election, Ali said.

“The plaintiff’s argument [of electoral fraud] did not have any impact on the vote tallies gained by the presidential candidate pairs,” Ali told the nine-panel bench.

The KPU declared Jokowi and Ma’ruf Amin ticket as the winner in the April presidential race, securing 85 million votes (55.5 percent) against Prabowo and Sandiaga, who garnered 68 million votes (44.5 percent).

In the first hearing of the case last week, the chief of Prabowo’s legal team, Bambang Widjojanto, said the official election result had been rigged by an incorrect final voters list (DPT) — identified as 17.5 million problematic voters — and an additional 5.7 million voters in the special voters list (DPK).

The plaintiffs claimed that based on the C1 vote tally forms the Prabowo camp has gathered, Jokowi and Ma’ruf should have only secured about 63 million votes. The Prabowo camp accused the KPU of inflating the incumbent’s tally with about 22 million votes.

In the revised petition, which was read out during the first hearing, the plaintiff attached a table comparing the camp’s own tally data to the KPU’s vote count in each province and concluded that Prabowo and Sandiaga should have garnered 52 percent of the vote.

Ali said that the KPU had settled the problematic DPT prior to the April 17 election and had even carried out coordination at least seven times with members of the Prabowo ticket, who had previously reported the problems in the DPT to the commission.  

Factual verifications and sampling had been carried out in coordination with demographic and statistic experts to ensure that all voters had been indeed eligible to take part in the election, he said.

Regarding the accusation that the KPU had manipulated the DPK, Ali said it was simply false because Prabowo’s camp had not been able to “elaborate on the details of the locations of polling stations” where the 5.7 million voters in the DPK had cast their votes.

Believing that the election was rigged, the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp demanded a revote in at least 12 provinces, including Central Java, East Java and Jakarta — key provinces secured by the incumbent.

The camp also alleged Jokowi misused the state bureaucracy and state-owned enterprises and involved state apparatuses in the election, while accusing the incumbent of “vote buying” by using state money to fund his administration’s programs and influence citizens to vote for him.

I Wayan Sudirta, one of the lawyers on Jokowi’s campaign team — which became the related party in the case — called the allegations of the involvement of state apparatuses, including police and intelligence officials, in rallying for the incumbent “assumptive” and “tendentious” because they were baseless.

Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) chairman Abhan said that his office had also never found or received reports regarding the matter.
Luhut Pangaribuan, another of Jokowi’s lawyers, said that the Prabowo camp had failed to provide further explanations about how the government’s programs could influence voter preferences, adding that the accusations were “exaggerated”.

“The plaintiff also did not explain the reason why, where and on which level [of polling stations] the [Jokowi-Ma’ruf] vote tally was reduced in its own version of the count,” he added.

Both the KPU and Jokowi’s legal team also rejected the revised petition read out by Bambang during Friday’s first hearing on the grounds that the latest version, which included new arguments and new urls to news articles, was a new version of the petition rather than a revision of the original document filed by the Prabowo team on May 24.

Justice Suhartoyo, however, said in the first hearing that whether the court would consider the revised petition would be decided during the justices’ meeting and would only be revealed publicly during the ruling announcement scheduled for June 28.

On Wednesday, the court is to continue the hearing with witnesses and experts presented by the Prabowo camp.