Indonesia opposition candidate calls for new vote after election loss

By AFP   March 20, 2024 | 11:18 pm PT
Indonesia opposition candidate calls for new vote after election loss
Presidential candidate and Indonesia's Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (C) on the stage during a gathering with supporters after polls closed in the country’s presidential and legislative elections in Jakarta on Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by AFP
Failed Indonesian presidential candidate Anies Baswedan challenged Prabowo Subianto's decisive victory at the Constitutional Court on Thursday, alleging rules were unfairly changed to allow the outgoing leader's son to run as his vice president.

Anies' call for a new vote comes a day after Defence Minister Prabowo, 72, was confirmed as the next leader of the world's third-biggest democracy, beating former Jakarta governor Anies and a third rival with 58.6 percent of the vote.

But his campaign was mired in allegations that outgoing leader Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, had interfered in a bid to establish a political dynasty, engineering rules changes that allowed his eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka to run as Prabowo's vice president.

"We asked for the disqualification of the vice presidential candidate... and we asked for a revote with that said VP candidate being replaced," Anies's legal chief Ari Yusuf Amir told AFP.

"We also asked the Constitutional Court to order the president to stop meddling in the next process of the election."

An Anies campaign staffer told AFP on condition of anonymity that they would "provide the proof of intervention... and let the judges decide what to do with that."

Earlier, Anies' legal chief told reporters outside their campaign headquarters that they submitted an "election dispute petition" to the court online early Thursday morning.

Anies's team has said the complain was aimed at improving future elections and bolstering Indonesia's young democracy, which emerged from decades of autocratic rule in the late 1990s.

Jokowi was criticised after his brother-in-law, then-chief justice Anwar Usman, issued an October ruling lowering the age requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates that allowed 36-year-old Gibran to run with Prabowo.

The requirements were lowered to allow candidates under 40 years of age to run if they have been elected to a political position. Gibran is the mayor of Surakarta city in Java.

Anies -- who got 24.9 percent of the vote -- refused to concede after official results were announced Wednesday, condemning the winner's route to victory.

"Leadership that was born out of a process tainted by cheating and violations will result in a regime that will produce policies that are full of unfairness, and we don't want this to happen," he said in a statement.

Prabowo was widely predicted to win the presidency on his third attempt after losing in 2014 and 2019.

His legal team was confident the result would not be successfully challenged because of his majority and wide margin of victory, local media reported.

Officials from his campaign team did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

He takes over in October after a transition period.

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