INDONESIA'S Constitutional Court has upheld the results of last month’s presidential election that saw Jakarta governor Joko Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla elected as the country’s next president and vice-president, bringing legal closure to what many Indonesians felt was a protracted process.
The nine-judge court dismissed a challenge to the results of the July 9 election filed by defeated candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Hatta Rajasa, an outcome many saw coming given the weak evidence they had surfaced over the two-week hearing.
The court’s decision is final and binding, and paves the way for the government of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to formally begin working with Mr Joko and his team on the transition of power in the days ahead of the formal handover of power on Oct 20.
But Thursday afternoon saw some tension outside the court, as police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse several of Mr Prabowo’s supporters who tried to break through security barriers.
Last month, Indonesia’s election commission declared that Mr Joko, 53, and Mr Kalla, 72, won 53.15 per cent of the vote on July 9, securing a margin of 8.4 million votes over Mr Prabowo, 62, and Mr Hatta, 60.
But Mr Prabowo and his lawyers took the case to court, alleging that massive, systematic and structured electoral fraud on the part of the election organisers cost them victory.
On Thursday, the judges said the petitioners failed to prove there was significant electoral fraud, let alone on a scale sufficient to overturn the poll result.
They took turns to read some 300 pages of the 4,390-page decision on the hearing.
Said Judge Muhammad Alim: “There is no evidence that has convinced the court the votes the complainant got were reduced and the votes of the other party were boosted.”