Published: Sun, June 30, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Indonesian court rejects appeal against election result

Indonesian court rejects appeal against election result

Indonesia's constitutional court Thursday rejected a bid to overturn President Joko Widodo's election victory and dismissed his defeated challenger's claims of widespread voter fraud as groundless.

In the course of a hearing that stretched over nine hours, the panel painstakingly described numerous allegations - including vote buying and that biased civil servants favoured Widodo - as baseless.

The Constitutional Court said Thursday that the legal team of the losing candidate, former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, had failed to prove allegations that included millions of fake voters and biased state institutions.

Subianto claimed that the election in the world's third-biggest democracy was plagued by "systematic, structured and massive" electoral fraud that cost him victory. However, there is high likelihood violence will escalate, as Islamist groups such as Alumni Presidium 212 and the Islamic Defenders Front have protested the Court's ruling, claiming it was fixed.

The court's Chief Justice Anwar Usman declared the finding that Jokowi, as Widodo is known, was the victor of the April 17 election was legal.

His lawyers have sought to overturn the official results that declared incumbent Joko Widodo the victor with 55.5 percent of votes, against Subianto's 44.5 percent.

Widodo said Indonesians should reunite after a divisive election campaign.

Prabowo had filed a similar lawsuit when he lost the 2014 election to Jokowi.

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"We understand that this is disappointing to us and our supporters, but we will abide by the constitution and the legal system", Prabowo told a post-verdict news conference where he was accompanied by his running mate, Sandiaga Uno.

"I will consult with my legal team", he added.

Subianto said after the ruling that he would respect the decision, which city officials hoped would reduce the risk of demonstrations by his supporters. Nine people were killed and hundreds injured in two days of violent clashes amid protests against the official announcement of Jokowi's win last month.

To prevent further unrest by Prabowo's supporters following the ruling, the authorities yesterday began deploying some 47,000 members of the Armed Forces and the National Police near the Constitutional Court building.

Citing a video of an appeal from Mr Joko to army and police officers to convey government programmes to the public, the judge said: "That is something that is normal as head of government".

The MK ruling reinstates presidential poll results initially announced by the General Election Commission (KPU) that put President Widodo and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin as the victor of presidential election.

This week, Amnesty International called for an independent probe into what it called "grave human rights violations" by police against protesters - including beatings and "torture" - and allegations that they were behind the killings of demonstrators.

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