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Indonesian court rejects first of 2 petitions seeking election re-run
Published on: Monday, April 22, 2024
By: Reuters, FMT
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Indonesian court rejects first of 2 petitions seeking election re-run
Losing candidate Anies Baswedan said tacit support from Indonesian president Joko Widodo gave Prabowo Subianto an unfair advantage. (AP pic)
JAKARTA: An Indonesian court today rejected in full a challenge from losing candidate Anies Baswedan for a re-run of February’s presidential election and to disqualify winner Prabowo Subianto and his running mate.

The Constitutional Court said there was no evidence of systematic or massive fraud, nor that the president, state bodies or regional officials had interfered in the poll to sway voters.

“The plaintiff’s petition has no legal basis in its entirety,” said Chief Justice Suhartoyo, announcing the decision.

Five judges ruled in favour of rejecting the petition, with three dissenting opinions, he said.

Candidates Anies and Ganjar Pranowo had both separately alleged there was state interference to favour defence minister Prabowo, who won by a huge margin, and had complained his running mate, the current president’s 36-year-old son, should not have been allowed to take part.

The administration and Prabowo had rejected the allegations.

The judges are expected to read their decision on Ganjar’s petition later today.

The rivals of former special forces commander Prabowo had sought his disqualification arguing the government’s widespread distribution of social aid in key areas had swayed the vote in his favour. Cabinet members had denied that in court.

Prabowo, who won 58% of the vote, has dismissed that as baseless.

Anies and Ganjar, who won about 25% and 16% of votes respectively, had also alleged that tacit support from the hugely popular President Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, had gifted Prabowo an unfair advantage.

Jokowi came under intense scrutiny in the election run-up, with critics alleging he abused his position to favour Prabowo, with the aim of preserving his legacy after a decade in charge of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

The losing candidates also complained to the Constitutional Court about the inclusion of Jokowi’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka as Prabowo’s running mate, which was enabled by a decision in October by the same court to change eligibility rules.

The chief justice at the time was Jokowi’s brother-in-law, who was later reprimanded by an ethics panel for allowing intervention from an unspecified “external party”. He was barred from involvement in election-related cases.

Despite the ethical violation, the judges said there was no evidence of nepotism or presidential intervention in relation to the decision to change the age requirements.

Former Jakarta governor Anies has warned repeatedly of a democratic backslide in Indonesia, saying the country, which was ruled for 32 years by the late strongman Suharto until his fall in 1998, was at risk of returning to its authoritarian past.

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