Prabowo Subianto, the Suharto-era general who lost Indonesia’s presidential election by millions of votes, called on the Constitutional Court to immediately declare him the winner or else hold a nationwide revote.
The demands were included in an updated challenge that Prabowo’s legal team filed with the court alleging fraud in the July 9 presidential poll. Prabowo, 62, says the victory for Joko Widodo, the Jakarta governor known as Jokowi, was “legally invalid” because it was obtained “unlawfully” or through “abuse of authority” by the election commission, the court said in a statement today.
The legal challenge is the last chance for Prabowo to overturn the poll results, which saw Jokowi finish with 8.4 million more votes than Prabowo and win by a six percentage-point margin. In addition to the official count, every unofficial tally by survey companies that agreed to be audited showed Jokowi winning the election.
Failure to deliver a clean ruling would be a setback for the country’s young democracy still emerging from decades of rule by dictator Suharto, toppled in 1998. The campaign between Jokowi, 53, and Prabowo, a former army commando who was once married to Suharto’s daughter, divided Indonesia between those looking for a more liberal democracy and those nostalgic for a leader who projects strength.
If the court upholds the election results, it will pave the way for Jokowi to focus on preparing to lead Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, where growth in the second quarter slowed to the weakest pace since 2009 as exports dropped and fuel subsidies dented the state budget.
Constitutional Court Chief justice Hamdan Zoelva ordered the elections commission, the election supervisory agency and Jokowi’s legal team to submit written responses to Prabowo’s latest challenge by Aug. 11. The court’s decision is expected by Aug. 24 and cannot be appealed.
Jokowi is due to take office on Oct. 20, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second term ends.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Blake in Bangkok at firstname.lastname@example.org