Home Asia Indonesia: Top Court Dismisses Plea Against Subianto’s Election As President

Indonesia: Top Court Dismisses Plea Against Subianto’s Election As President

Constitutional Court
Indonesia's president Prabowo Subianto (Photo: Reuters/ Imimasa Mayama)

One of two losing candidates in Indonesia’s recent presidential election, has lost a petition filed in the Constitutional Court challenging the victory of Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate.

Anies  Baswedan sought a re-run of the presidential election, but the Constitutional Court dismissed it saying there was no evidence to his allegation that the state or for that matter even incumbent President Joko Widodo, interfered in the electoral process.

Baswedan and the other presidential hopeful Ganjar Pranowo had complained vociferously about state interference, pointing to Subianto’s huge victory margin. They also said his running mate, who happens to incumbent President Joko Widodo’s son Gibran Raka, should not have been allowed to take part.

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Incidentally, the Constitutional Court was headed by a chief justice who happened to be the president’s brother-in-law last year, and it had amended a law changing the minimum age of candidates, thereby allowing Gibran Raka to enter the ticket. Although an ethics panel had reprimanded the chief justice for “allowing intervention by an external party”, the amendment was allowed to stand.

Baswedan has warned of “democratic backsliding” in Indonesia, saying that the country risked returning to the iron rule of the late strongman Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years until his fall in 1998.  Subianto is Suharto’s son-in-law, who headed the army’s special forces command and is accused of human rights violations.

He is blamed for the May 1998 crackdown on student protests at Jakarta’s Trisakti University in which four students were killed and dozens wounded.  His critics say his role in the crackdown was covered up and Subianto has since reinvented himself, building up his profile as a “caring grandfather”.  That appears to have stood him in good stead, helping him win the elections handily with 58% of the votes. Baswedan won 25% and Pranowo 16%.