Accessibility links

Indonesian Court Begins Hearing Election Challenge

  • VOA News

Indonesia's losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (L) addresses the Constitutional Court as his running mate Hatta Rajasa (C) listens in Jakarta, August 6, 2014.

Indonesia's Constitutional Court has begun hearing a challenge by ex-General Prabowo Subianto, who says massive fraud cost him last month's presidential election.

At a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Subianto told the court's nine judges some of the alleged election violations were worse than in totalitarian countries like North Korea.

Subianto lost the July 9 election by about six percent, or eight million votes, to former Jakarta governor and popular businessman Joko Widodo.

Subianto's lawyers say millions of votes are invalid due to irregularities at more than 55,000 polling stations across the country.

Most analysts say there is little chance the court will overturn the results, saying Subianto is exaggerating the fraud claims. The court must issue a ruling by August 21. Its decision cannot be appealed.

As Wednesday's hearing began, hundreds of Subianto's supporters gathered outside the court, declaring their candidate to be the winner of the election. Hundreds of police were deployed outside the facility. There were no reports of unrest.

Widodo, also known by his nickname Jokowi, is seen by many as a reformer and a rare candidate without links to Indonesia's longtime dictator, Suharto, who was ousted in 1998 and died 10 years later.

Prabowo Subianto, a former son-in-law of Suharto, campaigned on a strong nationalist platform. Many were concerned he would steer the country in an authoritarian direction, since he is accused of rights abuses, including overseeing the arrest of democracy activists, during his time as an army general.