Two complaints of electoral fraud in Indonesia dismissed

Watchdog rejects petitions filed by Prabowo supporters on grounds of weak evidence

Indonesia's election supervisory agency Bawaslu has rejected - on grounds of weak evidence - complaints filed by supporters of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto that last month's election was plagued by cheating, saying that the petitioners submitted only online news links.

Bawaslu also said the alleged cases of electoral fraud did not meet the criteria that the fraud must be structural in nature, or involving rogue government or election officials; systematic, or with proof of a plan or a meeting discussing a plan to carry out fraud; and massive, or affecting at least 50 per cent of Indonesia's 34 provinces.

"Evidence in the form of online news links cannot stand alone. They must be supported by other means, such as documents, letters or videos," said Mr Fritz Edward Siregar, a Bawaslu commissioner, during a public hearing yesterday.

Two complaints of election fraud were filed by senior campaign managers Djoko Santoso and Hanafi Rais, and by journalist Dian Islamiati Fatwa. Both cases used online news links as evidence and were based on occurrences in two provinces - East Java and Central Java.

Bawaslu's rulings were made in the preliminary stage of its examination process, during which it could accept a complaint and conduct further examination, or reject it outright.

Mr Prabowo, who ran against incumbent Joko Widodo, is expected to lose the April 17 presidential race by 11 percentage points, based on the latest tally of more than 90 per cent of the votes by the General Elections Commission (KPU) yesterday.

Mr Prabowo has claimed that he and his running mate, businessman-turned-politician Sandiaga Uno, lost votes due to the millions of fictitious names that were added to voter rolls, exploitation of the state apparatus, money politics, precast ballots and data entry errors by the KPU.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

Evidence in the form of online news links cannot stand alone. They must be supported by other means, such as documents, letters or videos.

MR FRITZ EDWARD SIREGAR, a Bawaslu commissioner, on petitioners submitting only online news links in their complaints.

 
 
 
 

The former general has been adamant that he will not accept the results. He has made repeated allegations of fraud, fanning anger among supporters, including conservative Muslims, who plan to take to the streets starting today to protest against the impending release of the results, which the KPU will announce by tomorrow.

In the complaints to Bawaslu, the petitioners requested the agency to disqualify Mr Joko and his running mate, senior cleric Ma'ruf Amin, for allegedly promising monetary and other benefits to win votes.

Bawaslu chief commissioner Abhan said none of the more than 70 items of evidence showed there was a plan or a meeting initiated by anyone linked to those accused of fraud, which is required in order for the case to be deemed systematic.

"To be called massive, it must cover at least 50 per cent of the country's provinces," added Mr Abhan, who goes by a one-word name.

One of the petitioners, Ms Dian, called the rulings unfair because they were made before the witnesses she claimed she had lined up were given a chance to testify.

"We have gathered all the witnesses and readied documents to show to Bawaslu. We just didn't have time to do this before we filed petitions," Ms Dian said.

Meanwhile, the police and the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) held a coordination meeting yesterday, as more than 32,000 troops, including hundreds from other provinces, have been mobilised to secure Jakarta.

The police spokesman, Brigadier-General Dedi Prasetyo, said: "TNI has readied reserve troops in case the situation gets out of hand, but we hope it remains under control and peaceful."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2019, with the headline 'Two complaints of electoral fraud in Indonesia dismissed'. Print Edition | Subscribe