Jakarta. The Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected in its entirety the lawsuit filed by presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto against the official election result, reaffirming Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo as Indonesia’s next and seventh president. The losing camp, though, was quick to raise another allegation, this time of an “unjust” ruling by the court.
“[We] reject the plaintiff’s lawsuit in its entirety,” Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva said as he read out the verdict.
There was no dissenting opinion from any of the nine justices in the nation’s highest court. They also granted none of the Prabowo camp’s demands in the lawsuit, including for the court to reject the official tally by the General Elections Commission (KPU), for revotes in seven provinces and for Prabowo and his running mate Hatta Rajasa to be declared winners of the July 9 election instead.
During the six-hour final hearing of the case, the court justices read out 300 out of 3,000 pages of the verdict, explaining the reasons for their rejection of each claim made by the Prabowo-Hatta Rajasa camp, which alleged “structured, systematic and massive” cheating by KPU officials in favor of Joko and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla.
In a press conference soon after the hearing was concluded, the Prabowo camp said they would bow to the court’s final and binding verdict, but did not stop from raising another allegation of injustice.
“As citizens who honor the Constitution, we the Red White Coalition acknowledge the verdict of the court as an institution that handles, tries and rules on presidential election disputes,” Tantowi Yahya, a spokesman for the political party coalition in support of Prabowo, said on Thursday night. “But the trial and court proceedings at the Constitutional Court ignored the in-depth evidence argumentation and failed to accommodate testimonies from witnesses, whose number is actually far higher than that approved [to testify].”
“Although final and binding, the court’s verdict doesn’t necessarily reflect substantial truth and justice to the people of Indonesia, although this substantial justice is an important matter in democracy.”
Tantowi said the coalition would continue to oversee other legal processes outside the court. On Thursday, the Election Organizers Ethics Council (DKPP) also issued its ruling on a similar complaint filed by the Prabowo-Hatta team. Other than that, the camp also earlier announced its plans to bring the case to the State Administrative Court (PTUN) and to the legislation through the planned establishment of a special committee, or pansus, that will scrutinize the July 9 election process.
Separately, Joko said he appreciated the Constitutional Court and the DKPP rulings and the “transparent and professional” trials.
“This will pave the way for us to immediately plan our new government,” he said at a press conference that was also attended by Kalla.
One of the main points of contention in Prabowo’s lawsuit concerns the list of people eligible to vote in the July 9 presidential election. Refuting Prabowo’s claims of modified lists to help Joko-Kalla win, the court said the list had been carefully composed and played no role in any alleged election fraud.
“The Fixed Voter List [DPT] was a bottom-up list, composed from the lowest to the highest levels in a certain time frame,” Justice Ahmad Fadlil Sumadi said, adding that if the losing presidential candidate had any complaints about the list, he should have come forward in the period the KPU had set especially for that purpose.
But because Prabowo’s legal team only complained after the period to fix problems with the list, the court considered their argument “irrelevant.”
Marwah Daud Ibrahim, a legal expert in the Prabowo-Hatta camp, previously testified at the court that the DPT had been manipulated, saying that data of 10 percent of voters across the country, or around 19 million people, had been tampered with.
The court said the experts presented by Prabowo, Marwah and Rasyid Saleh, had failed to prove any correlation between the voter list and alleged election fraud.
The justices also said there was no evidence that the Special Voter List (DPK) and Additional Voter List (DPKTb) had been used to illegally add votes to the tally of Joko Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla, who won the election.
The court said the use of the DPK and the DPKTb — to facilitate voting by people not on the Fixed Voter List — was not a violation of the Constitution, stressing the importance of citizens’ right to vote and to be elected.
“The right to vote is a fundamental right, which cannot be negated only because of administrative reasons,” Fadlil said, adding that the KPU had the right to issue regulations to guide local election commissions.
Fadlil also said the DPK and the DPKTb should be considered only a temporary method, and that a permanent solution should be found for any problems with voter lists.
But the justice concluded: “There is no evidence that the DPK and the DPKTb have been used to mobilize voters at the expense of one of the candidates.”
The DKPP, which held a separate trial on the Prabowo camp’s complaint against KPU officials, on Thursday rejected the allegation that some KPU regulations concerning the voter lists were intended to help Joko-Kalla win.
“The KPU regulations are very much in line with principles of election organization. [The regulations] concerning DPK and DPKTb have been intended to help people meet their constitutional rights,” DKPP justice Anna Herliyana read out the verdict during a hearing in DKPP office in Jakarta on Thursday.
“The use of DPKTb cannot be classified as structured, systematic and massive [cheating]. The defendants have rightfully done their obligations.
The DKPP instead dismissed four local KPU officers in Serang, Banten, for taking bribes from Prabowo’s Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra). Five other election officers, from Dogiyai district in Papua, were dismissed for logistical failures.
“Nine members have been dismissed, 30 have been warned, and 20 were found not guilty,” DKPP chief Jimly Asshiddiqie said on Thursday, as quoted by Indonesian news portal detik.com.
The DKPP warned 30 other election officers for procedural violations — including the chief and four members of Jakarta KPU, South Jakarta KPU, North Jakarta KPU, East Jakarta KPU and Central Jakarta KPU, and five from the national KPU.
The ethics council also reprimanded KPU chairman Husni Kamil Manik for delegating his task of leading the KPU’s plenary session on July 22, when it announced Joko-Kalla the winners of the July 9 presidential election.
“Defendant [Husni] is proven to have failed to exercise the correct priorities as an election organizer,” Justice Valina Singka Subekti said.
The DKPP also criticized the KPU for opening sealed ballot boxes without a court order after it learned of the Prabowo team’s plan to challenge the KPU tally to the Constitutional Court. KPU officials argued that they did so to prepare for the case, but the Prabowo team have accused them of attempting to modify the result.
Bawaslu, though, has defended the KPU’s move, and the Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that it was legal because KPU had invited witnesses from both camps, Bawaslu and police while opening the boxes, which were sealed after individual tallies by poll stations across the country
Meanwhile, at least 46 people reportedly sustained injuries, some of them serious, after Prabowo-Hatta supporters clashed with police outside the court building.
“Based on checks by the medical unit of the Jakarta Police, the number of victims injured or hurt by tear gas stands at 46,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said. “Forty of them have left for home, four people were referred to Gatot Subroto Army Hospital … and two others are still being treated at the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.”
Police fired water cannons and tear gas on the mob of Prabowo supporters attempting to storm the court as the judges read out their verdict.
The crowd of several thousand threw rocks and tried to break through the barricades set up by police at the southern end of Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta at 2:30 p.m., half an hour after the reading of the verdict began, prompting police to use tear-gas canisters and water cannons to disperse the crowd. There were also reports of police firing rubber bullets into the crowd, but police have denied this.
The measures sent the demonstrators scrambling, with some fleeing the scene on their motorcycles and rented minivans and buses.
Police have arrested four people alleged to have incited the crowd into trying to breach the barricade.
“We also seized three cars,” Dwi added, referring to the heavy-duty troop carriers that the crowd had brought with them. It remains unclear where they obtained the military-issue Unimog trucks.
Order was restored after 15 minutes when supporters were pushed back all the way to the intersection of Jalan M.H. Thamrin and Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan.
Many of the demonstrators chose to head home after the incident, leaving around 600 people still at the scene in the afternoon.
Additional reporting by Bayu Marhaenjati, Camelia Pasandaran & Yustinus Paat (JG)