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Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (Achmad Ibrahim/AP)
Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto gestures during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (Achmad Ibrahim/AP)

Indonesia’s Prabowo to challenge election result in court Add to ...

Indonesia’s losing presidential candidate plans to file a legal challenge in the nation’s highest court, his campaign said Wednesday, a move that may prolong the political uncertainty in the country’s transition to democracy.

Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo, known to most as “Jokowi,” was declared the winner late Tuesday after all the votes were counted from the July 9 election.

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Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto withdrew shortly before the result was announced, alleging massive fraud during the election, and that it was unfair and undemocratic. He has repeatedly claimed that polling firms with links to his campaign showed he was ahead.

Campaign team spokesman Tantowi Yahya told foreign journalists that Subianto is contesting the voting procedure and his lawyers are preparing to file paperwork with the constitutional Court within three days.

“We will not surrender our rights” to hold a second vote, Yahya said, “The indication of massive fraud and widespread irregularities is overwhelming.”

Election observers found the vote to be generally fair and free, with minimal abnormalities. The vote was only Indonesia’s third direct presidential election after emerging from dictatorship, and defeated candidates in the previous two elections challenged the results in the court, but failed.

Officials at the constitutional Court have said if an election challenge is filed by this weekend, the case would be heard by Aug. 6 and the verdict would come on Aug. 21. The ruling cannot be appealed.

Subianto’s case will assert that the Election Commission’s list of eligible voters differs from local lists in several provinces, said Subianto’s younger brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo, a businessman who also one of campaign leaders. He estimated 50,000 polling stations have reported irregularities, putting an estimated 21 million votes in question out of the total of nearly 133 million cast.

Subianto’s court case is unlikely to alter the election outcome because Widodo won by nearly 8.5 million votes, said Election Supervisory Board Commissioner Nelson Simanjuntak.

“They must show strong and honest evidence,” Simanjuntak said, adding that the board is ready to open its records of the voting results to the court later.

Final results showed that Widodo, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, received just under 71 million votes, or 53 per cent, while Subianto got 62.6 million votes, or 47 per cent. More than 133 million valid ballots were cast, and voter turnout was 71 per cent.

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