Senior Politicians Support Prabowo’s Court Challenge

Jakarta. Prominent political figures in Indonesia have expressed support for Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno’s decision to contest the election results at the Constitutional Court, and encouraged other members of the country’s political elite to avoid escalating tension after deadly clashes in Central Jakarta earlier this week.

“We appreciate the candidates’ [Prabowo and Sandiaga] decision to bring this matter to the Court. That is the way according to the law. [All of us should] get behind this process,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla said late on Thursday after a meeting with high-profile figures in Indonesian politics.

The meeting, hosted by Kalla, was attended by former vice president Try Sutrisno, former Constitutional Court judge Mahfud M.D. and Indonesian Muslim Scholar Association chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie.

Also present at the meeting were Said Aqil Sirodj, the head of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, and Abdul Mu’ti, the secretary general of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization.

Former Constitutional Court judge Hamdan Zoelva, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Syafruddin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council’s advisory council Din Syamsuddin and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan were also seen at the meeting.

“We expect the Court to hold a transparent, fair and independent trial. This is the best way, and the only solution,” Kalla said.

Prabowo’s legal team is expected to submit their challenge to the Court today, after skipping their own deadline yesterday. The team has until midnight on Friday before the 72-hour deadline since the General Elections Commission announced the election results expired.

Less Pressure on Court Judges

Many observers have said judges at the Constitutional Court should feel less pressure presiding over the election dispute this year than in 2014.

Muradi, a political science lecturer from Padjadjaran University in Bandung, West Java, pointed to the large vote difference between the winning Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin ticket and Prabowo-Sandiaga – around 16.9 million votes. The latter must be able to prove that all of these votes were the result of fraud.

So far, the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp has scarcely provided data or evidence for their claims of widespread electoral fraud.

“It would be hard for Prabowo and Sandiaga to prove their claim of widespread fraud. If they don’t have the evidence, then the Constutional Court will reject their challenge,” Muradi said.

Muradi also said that the Prabowo-Sandiaga coalition has looked fragile since the elections last month.

“PAN [National Mandate Party] and the Democratic Party have already chosen to accept the result of the presidential election rather than contesting it,” Muradi said.