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Jakarta Post

With last election dispute hearing over, all eyes on court for June 28 ruling

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, June 23, 2019   /   02:50 pm
With last election dispute hearing over, all eyes on court for June 28 ruling The head of General Elections Commission, Arief Budiman (center), hugs a member of the legal team of the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno camp, Denny Indrayana, on June 21. (Antara/Galih Pradipta)

Constitutional Court justices presided over the last hearing over a challenge to the presidential election result on Friday evening and will make a ruling by June 28 at the latest.

During the week before the result, the panel of justices will examine the evidence and the testimonies that were given by witnesses during five hearings that were held.

“The hearings of the case have been completed. For the announcement of the result […], the registrar will let you know,” judge Anwar Usman said in closing the hearing.

The challenge was filed by the camp of losing pair Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno, which questioned the announcement by the General Elections Commission (KPU) of the election result.

The Prabowo ticket accused the commission of “systematically, structurally and massively” rigging the election and inflating the incumbent’s tally – which stood at 85 million votes against Prabowo’s 68 million votes – by around 22 million votes.

In its lawsuit, the camp also accused the rival camp, incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, of abusing his power as the president to turn the election in his favor. The camp also alleged that the official election result had been rigged by a dubious final voters list, which included 17.5 million so-called problematic voters, as well as an additional 5.7 million voters on the special voter list (DPK).

Prabowo’s legal team presented a total of 14 witnesses and experts during an hours-long hearing session to strengthen what experts dubbed a seemingly weak lawsuit – the camp’s last-ditch effort to overturn Jokowi’s reelection victory.

Various testimonies, ranging from millions of alleged invalid ID card numbers to suspected vote-stamping attempts by an election worker, were brought before the nine-panel bench.

The camp of winning pair President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin is of the opinion that the court would reject the challenge by Prabowo’s legal team because their witnesses could not provide strong testimonies and evidence. 

“None of the 14 witnesses presented by the Prabowo-Sandiaga legal team could strongly argue that there was structured, massive and systematic fraud in the election,” Jokowi-Ma’ruf campaign team member Razman Arif Nasution said.

However, the latest hearing saw witnesses and experts from Jokowi’s camp trade barbs with Prabowo’s legal team over various issues, including a newly surfaced allegation that Jokowi’s aide had insinuated that “fraud was a part of democracy”.

“That was a blunder for Jokowi’s camp,” Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign team member Hendarsam Marantuko said. “That has proven that for the incumbent camp, fraud is a common thing to do.”

Veri Junaidi, chairman of judiciary watchdog KoDe Inisiatif, said Prabowo’s team, indeed, seemed it was not able to present witnesses and evidence that could prove the alleged election fraud.

“If we analyze the dispute proposal, the evidence and the witnesses, I think those were not enough to prove the fraud,” Veri said on Saturday.

He went on to say that such wide-scale fraud would have required that election organizers, the government and authorities worked together to manipulate the election system in a grand plan.

“We need to check whether there was an instruction letter that ordered all of the government structures to conduct the fraud and whether the structures followed the order or not. So far, there is no [evidence] that can connect them all,” Veri said.

After the latest hearing on Friday, the head of Jokowi’s legal team, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, said his team would accept the result made by the court.

“Whatever the court will rule, we will accept and respect that,” Yusril said.

Meanwhile, the head of Prabowo’s legal team, Bambang Widjojanto, said he would be ready to accept the ruling in a bid to avoid division among the people.

“For those who win: Don’t be arrogant. For those who lose: Don’t insist [that you won],” Bambang said.