Security bolstered as challenge to Indonesia vote begins

June 14, 2019
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Indonesian police officers are deployed outside the Constitutional Court in Jakarta,Indonesia, Friday, June 14, 2019. Authorities bolstered security in the Indonesian capital as hearings began in a court challenge to the results of April's presidential election. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Authorities bolstered security in the Indonesian capital Friday as hearings began in a court challenge to the results of April’s presidential election.

The losing candidate former Gen. Prabowo Subianto claims there was massive electoral fraud and is asking the Constitutional Court to invalidate the election. The court is expected to rule by June 28.

In a bizarre twist, Subianto’s claims about the share of the vote he won have continued to change. On Friday, his legal team said he’d won 52% of the vote, down from an earlier claim of 54% and prior to that 62%.

The court challenge alleges there were 17.5 million duplicated names on the voter roll and that police, the intelligence agency and other state institutions were biased in favor of the incumbent, Joko Widodo, but its evidence has relied heavily on printouts of news articles.

“We must uphold honesty and justice. The absence of justice resulted in the absence of the law itself,” one of the Subianto campaign’s lawyers, Bambang Widjojanto, told the nine judges hearing the case.

National police chief Tito Karnavian said 17,000 officers have been deployed. The military said they were backed by 16,000 soldiers.

Nine people died in what police said were orchestrated riots in Jakarta last month after official results confirmed Widodo was reelected with 55.5% of the vote.

The divisive election campaign highlighted Muslim-majority Indonesia’s hardening religious divide. Subianto, who allied himself with groups that want Islamic law to replace secular government, won heavily in conservative provinces but was defeated nationally by Widodo’s coalition of moderate and minority voters.

It was Subianto’s second loss to Widodo and his fourth unsuccessful bid for the presidency.

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