JAKARTA (TheInsideStories) – Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled on late Thursday (06/27) to uphold the results of the April 17 presidential election that handed President Joko Widodo a second term at the helm of the world’s third-largest democracy.
The decision puts an end to months of political uncertainty, crushing yet another bid for high office by former army general Prabowo Subianto.
The court dismissed in its entirety the challenge filed by the losing candidate and his running mate Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, who claimed that they were robbed of victory due to “massive, structured and systematic” fraud.
The court’s decision is final and binding and paves the way for Widodo and his vice-presidential Ma’ruf Amin to take office in October.
In a press conference after court announcement, Subianto said he accepted the outcome, telling reporters last night: “Although the ruling is very disappointing for us and our supporters, as agreed, we will comply with it and our Constitution and prevailing laws. We respect the ruling by the Constitutional Court.”
He thanked all his supporters who had sincerely prayed for and helped him during the last presidential election. He hopes all supporters not to be discouraged, nonviolent, and loyal to the constitution.
“We must stay strong. We must think about the greater interest, and that is the unity of our nation. We must be brotherly towards each other, our fellow countrymen,” he advice.
But he seemed to still search for options saying: “We will consult with our legal team to ask for advice and opinions on whether there are still other legal and constitutional steps we might be able to take.”
Meanwhile, in his speech following the ruling, Widodo said: “The Constitutional Court’s ruling is final and we should respect and implement it together.”
“I believe in the greatness and statesmanship of my good friends, Mr. Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. I know they had the same vision and mission in building Indonesia in the future,” Widodo said at a press conference held at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, East Jakarta, before leaving for Group of 20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.
He called for all Indonesians to unite, despite their different political preferences, which was necessary for the country to advance and catch up with other nations.
Amin echoed Widodo’s sentiments, saying that now was the time to come together as a nation. “There should be no more friction because we are one, we are all Indonesians,” he said.
In Thursday session, the nine judges took turns to read out their responses to the claims filed by Subianto’s lawyer, rejecting them all as unfounded. The decision was unanimous.
Justice Anwar Usman, who leads the court, said: “The lawsuit lodged by the plaintiff is legally baseless.”
While the General Election Commission’s official count gave Widodo-Amin 55.5 percent of the votes in the elections to Subianto-Uno’s 44.5, the opposition camp claimed it had nabbed 52 percent of the votes.
But the court rejected this by saying: “The Court is of the opinion that the petitioner’s claim has no legal ground.”
The plaintiff, the court said, did not provide enough evidence of its full count of votes for all polling stations to convince the court of its claims, adding that submissions comprised mostly photographs and scans of vote tally forms “from unclear sources”.
The court also rejected claims that Widodo-Amin’ campaign team had engaged in vote-buying, and that votes for the incumbent were inflated by ballots from non-existent polling stations.
The court pointed out that Subianto-Uno’ lawyers claim that 2,984 non-existent polling stations had generated 895,200 “ghost votes” was unfounded as the legal team could not reveal where these stations were, how the vote rigging was carried out and who had benefited.
Opposition’s lawyers had also said that incumbent was armed with state apparatus and wide-reaching influence to help him to a win. But Justice said the court, after examining the evidence, “has found no proof that state apparatus was not neutral”.
Citing a video of an appeal from Widodo to army and police officers to convey government programs to the public, the judge said: “That is something that is normal as head of government. This was not a campaign for votes.”
Written by Willy Matrona, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org