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Indonesian court upholds Widodo election victory

Says allegations of fraud by Prabowo were baseless

<p>Prabowo supporters stage a demonstration outside the Constitutional Court on Thursday. (Photo by Ryan Dagur)</p>

Prabowo supporters stage a demonstration outside the Constitutional Court on Thursday. (Photo by Ryan Dagur)

  • Ryan Dagur and AFP, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • August 21, 2014
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The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled to uphold the victory of Joko Widodo in last month’s presidential elections by dismissing allegations of rampant fraud leveled by his opponent Prabowo Subianto.

“The court rejects the entire petition from the appellant,” presiding judge Hamdan Zoelva said on behalf of a nine-judge panel and following a hearing that ran seven hours.

The Constitutional Court’s dismissal of ex-general Prabowo’s challenge seals victory for Widodo, Indonesia’s first leader without deep roots in the era of dictator Suharto, and will allow him to focus on preparing to take office in October.

“We very much value and appreciate the work of the Constitutional Court,” said Widodo, the reform-minded governor of Jakarta, standing alongside his running mate Jusuf Kalla, adding it had been “open, transparent and professional”.

“This gives us the chance to prepare and plan our new government immediately.”

The verdict cannot be appealed.

A spokesman for Prabowo’s team, Tantowi Yahya, said they “acknowledged the decision by the Constitutional Court” but added the decision “does not necessarily reflect truth and substantive justice for the Indonesian people”.

Maqdir Ismail, a lawyer for Prabowo, agreed. “The process at the court may end, but we will keep fighting for issues that still exist.”

Taufik Basari, a member of Widodo’s legal team, acknowledged dissent but said the matter was closed.

“If the other side can’t accept it, it’s their right. We, however, believe that any legal process taken after the court’s verdict won’t change the election result,” he said.

Prior to the verdict, thousands of Prabowo’s supporters staged a rally outside the court. More than 20,000 police officers and military personnel were deployed to maintain peace.

The rally turned violent when some protestors tried to force their way through razor wire barriers. Police officers responded by firing tear gas and water cannon into the crowd.

Police arrested four protestors and there were reports of at least three injuries.

Widodo and Prabowo each declared victory following the July 9 polls. The Election Commission released official results two weeks later, which gave Widodo a six-point victory.

Prabowo and his legal team alleged fraud at tens of thousands of polling stations and said that if votes had been counted fairly, he would have won a narrow victory.

The court ruled that all Prabowo’s allegations were baseless, and that there should not be a rerun of the vote in several areas as he had requested.

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