Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has allowed the hearing of opposition former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s lawsuit against his political opponent President Joko Widodo, who remains keen on challenging the latter’s victory in the archipelagic nation’s Presidential Election held in Apr.
The Straits Times reported that the court has decided to schedule a hearing next Tue (18 Jun), a day later than the original scheduled date, in order to grant Mr Joko and the legal teams of the election commission more time to put forth their defence following their protest against the revisions made by Prabowo’s team to the legal suit early this week.
Reuters reported Prabowo’s chief lawyer Bambang Widjojanto as saying before the Constitutional Court yesterday: “We are filing a lawsuit against the General Election Commission (KPU), demanding that the KPU annul its decision on the result of the presidential election.”
Bambang and his team alleged that Widodo had won the election via “systematic electoral fraud and abuse of power”, and accused the President of having misused “campaign financing” and “state apparatus”.
The Jakarta Post reported Bambang as saying that Jokowi had “used his position as the president to use the state budget and government programs as an instrument for influencing voters in the 2019 presidential election”.
The lawyer had also called upon the court to “hold a fair trial to deliver justice to the people of Indonesia”.
Indonesia’s Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), however, had previously maintained that there has been no evidence of systematic cheating as suggested by Prabowo’s legal team. Independent observers echoed Bawaslu’s observation, suggesting that the past election was clean.
Justice Anwar Usman, who headed the nine-judge panel, told the legal teams who had tried to object to the changes made in Prabowo’s lawsuit that “there will be time to talk about this later”.
Head of the Election Commission (KPU) Arief Budiman told the court as to why more time is needed to gather and put forth the Commission’s submissions: “We had already gotten ready our response to the first lawsuit, and the staff have just gone home today.”
The proceedings were broadcasted live on television on the grounds of transparency, ST observed.
Argo Yuwono, a spokesman for the Jakarta police force, told Bloomberg that around 50,000 police and military personnel were deployed across the capital on Fri (14 Jun) in anticipation of violent clashes such as the one that took place between pro-Prabowo factions and the police in central Jakarta not long after the poll’s official results were announced last month, which left eight people dead and more than 900 injured.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Justice and Security Affairs Wiranto was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “The security apparatus is always vigilant in maintaining security, in view of what has happened and what’s been anticipated so that the public remains calm”.
He added that the authorities “welcome Prabowo’s appeal to his supporters to not flock to the court and respect the legal process”.