Prabowo calls for IT audit of Indonesian polls

Jokowi rival offers help as govt vows to act against those who attack election process

Presidential hopeful Prabowo Su-bianto yesterday offered to help the Indonesian authorities in an audit of the elections following his allegations of electoral fraud, while the administration of incumbent Joko Widodo made it clear it would get tough on those out to delegitimise the electoral process.

Hours after the government announced the formation of a national inquiry into the vitriol against the government and General Elections Commission (KPU), Mr Prabowo and his team unfurled a long list of charges showing the "blatant and flagrant violation of basic norms of democracy" in the April 17 elections.

The wide-ranging claims include data entry errors of votes from at least 73,000 polling stations, 6.7 million voters not getting an invitation to vote, irregularities in the official voter roll and the mobilisation of civil servants in Mr Joko's campaign efforts.

"We want an IT (information technology) audit. It's as simple as that. All these false entries must be corrected," Mr Prabowo said at a press conference for foreign media, citing the data entry errors in KPU's real count of votes. "If they are serious, we have a lot of experts. We can get international experts. Just get a rational IT audit," he added.

"Our request is for a correction of irregularities that will show a commitment to a true and fair democratic process," he said, adding that an audit by an independent third-party body acceptable to both camps would be reasonable.

The government has refuted claims of fraud, with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto calling them "slanderous, incorrect and baseless". Earlier yesterday, he again dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, and announced the setting up of a legal team to look into hate speech and defamation against the government and KPU.

The government, Mr Wiranto told reporters, is prepared to take legal action against those who continue to act unconstitutionally while attempting to delegitimise the election process and divide society.

The wide-ranging claims include data entry errors of votes from at least 73,000 polling stations, 6.7 million voters not getting an invitation to vote, irregularities in the official voter roll and the mobilisation of civil servants in Mr Joko's campaign efforts.

"The team is complete. We have invited law professors and doctors from various universities. Their views support ours - the attacks on the legitimate government, curses on the legitimate president shall not be ignored," he said.

"There are laws and sanctions for all these. We will prosecute anyone - be they prominent persons, former generals... If they breach a law, we must take firm actions."

The latest KPU count shows Mr Joko winning 56.3 per cent of the votes against the former general's 43.7 per cent. The interim vote count is based on the official tabulation of almost 70 per cent of the total ballots cast at last month's presidential election, which saw a record turnout of voters.

Key electorates where there is still some way to go in the vote count are the capital Jakarta (59 per cent) and West Java (49 per cent). The latter is the country's largest electorate, with more than 30 million eligible voters.

Mr Prabowo is expected to challenge the final results, which must be released by May 22, just as he did when he lost to Mr Joko in 2014."This time, I will not accept a fraudulent outcome. In 2014, I really did not accept in my heart, but for the good of the country, I gave it the benefit of the doubt," he said. "This time the violations are too much. So it's impossible. I will not accept a fraudulent election."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline 'Prabowo calls for IT audit of Indonesian polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe