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Ina Parlina and Hans Nicholas Jong
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Asia

Prabowo's legal challenge futile: Legal experts

The Jakarta Post/ANN | Ina Parlina and Hans Nicholas Jong | Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

The loser of the presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, may well have to swallow his claim that he has absolutely no trust in the state institutions handling election cases after his camp strongly indicated that they would file a complaint to the Constitutional Court in their desperate attempts to scupper the victory of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Prabowo has until Friday morning to register a challenge against the General Elections Commission's (KPU) decision in favor of Jokowi at the court.

However, many observers, including his own senior campaign team advisor, believe that such a challenge would in all likelihood change nothing.

Prabowo's younger brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo revealed that the former general would consider taking all possible legal steps before making his final decision on Jokowi's victory.

Prabowo's camp has claimed that there were massive irregularities, such as a huge number of illegal voters as well as mismatched data between the number of voters and the number of votes in more than 50,000 polling stations. They also claim their data is much more credible and accurate than the official count by the widely respected KPU.

His campaign team lawyer Mahendradatta said on Wednesday that "our intention is not only to secure Prabowo's victory but also to safeguard voters' rights".

"So it's better for us to seek reelections in at least 52,000 polling stations. We will prove that there was improper conduct [in those polling stations]," he added.

Observers, including constitutional law expert Saldi Isra, have previously suggested that it would be very difficult for a plaintiff to prove claims of "structured, systematic and massive" violations given the 8-million-vote margin of Jokowi's victory.

Jokowi netted 70,633,576 votes, which was over 8 million more than rival Prabowo Subianto, who received 62,262,844 votes or 46.85 percent.

Mahfud MD, who resigned on Tuesday from his position as chairman of the national campaign team for Prabowo's Gerindra-led coalition, has said he will not get involved if it goes to court.

The former Constitutional Court chief justice has made it clear that such a measure would be unlikely to change anything.

"From my experience, proving fraud in 200,000 votes is just impossible, let alone with 8 million votes. It would be simply pointless to bring the case to court," said Mahfud.

Former court justice AS Natabaya, who heard a similar case with regard to the 2004 election, said on Wednesday that given the nature of such allegations it would be hard to prove claims of structured, systematic and massive violations without providing strong evidence.

"We are talking about balloting and the court will be able to see whether or not it was structured, systematic and massive," he said.

Former Constitutional Court justice Harjono, who retired in March and heard another such case in 2009, said the court would weigh up whether or not a candidate had suffered an injustice by the result.

"The key is the evidence and the court will decide whether or not the result was an injustice to the plaintiffs," he said.

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