Prabowo withdraws from Indonesia elections

Prabowo Subianto
Prabowo Subianto

Indonesia’s General Election Commission (KPU) held its’ final meeting today to finalise votes in the Presidential Election counted at the level of districts and provinces, with the final official count as of 5pm today showing Prabowo-Hatta with 43.83% and Jokowi-JK with 53.17%. However, Prabowo Subianto, leader of Indonesia’s Gerindra Party, withdrew from the Indonesian presidential election just hours before the KPU’s official count announcement, attacking the institution and accusing the KPU of not properly investigating alleged cheating at the polls.

The former military general made the announcement during a press conference in Jakarta this afternoon, stating the party will use their “constitutional rights, namely the 2014 presidential election rejected the implementation”. Suhardi, Chairman of Prabowo’s Gerindra Party added sternly “we reject the flawed implementation of the election law and withdraw from the process. We are not willing to sacrifice the mandate of the people who have been tricked and diverted.”

In a message posted on his Facebook at 3:20 pm Jakarta time, Prabowo repeated that he had been “robbed”, citing districts in Papua and East Java, as well as the more-than-5,000 problematic polling stations in Jakarta.

The Jakarta Globe has reported that Prabowo’s decision may put the election in a legal grey area, with Irman  Putra  Sidin, constitutional law expert from Hassanudin University stating that “there had never been a candidate who rejected the whole process of the presidential election and withdrew himself from the election”.

Prabowo has three days to challenge the result once it is announced by the KPU, something he has promised to do if his’ legal team has the evidence, however several analysts said Prabowo would find it difficult to provide the evidence necessary to justify delaying the election results.

This has been the closest Indonesian Presidential election since the fall of the Suharto regime. For the Indonesians who voted for Jokowi-JK, the leadership represents a symbol of hope and change. For those voting for Prabowo, their voted represented a desire to maintain the status quo in Indonesia.

I spoke to several young voters today who had all been active in various aspects of the campaign period, and who were still holding their breath waiting on the count.

Fahd Djibran represents the voice of the Indonesian diaspora. An author of several books, Fahd is currently studying International Relations at Monash University in Melbourne. For Fahd, this has been the best election after the reform period and “shows that Indonesian democracy has continued to grow and mature the better”.

Regarding the distinctly different candidates and their constituents, this represents the development of Indonesia’s hopes. “If Jokowi win the election with approximately 52% (as predicted by exit-poll counting), I think that’s give us clear picture about the maturity of Indonesian democracy. This shows us there is a clear separation between people who want ‘change’ and those who enjoy the status quo”.

For Cuwie Muchtare, a copywriter and mother of a young daughter, also based in Jakarta, Jokowi represents a leader who has “finally allowed the the voice of Indonesia to be heard. No matter what religion, tradition, or ethnicity you come from, Indonesian is one. Historically, we have been a pluralistic multi-religious country, and for me, Jokowi represents my hopes for a unified Indonesia which respects and celebrates difference”.

Dida Darul Ulum of The Megawati Institute added that Jokowi holds a democratic vision for the country, “in stark contrast to Prabowo who has indicated otherwise, showing us that he does not respect the democratic process. We can see this in particular with the counting process of the KPU as we speak” he said frustratedly as we waited on results earlier today.

The military, special forces, and police remain on stand by across the country and outside the KPU headquarters in Jakarta as the country anxiously awaits the outcome these recent developments.

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