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Losing Indonesia presidential candidate files suit

July 25, 2014

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s losing presidential candidate filed complaints to the Constitutional Court on Friday, alleging that widespread irregularities at the polls damaged his chances of victory in the country that is Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

The verdict is expected in August, but most analysts don’t expect the election outcome to change. Outside observers found the vote to be general free and fair with minimal abnormalities.

The declared winner, Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo, known to most as “Jokowi,” received nearly 71 million votes, or 53 percent, according to final results released by the Election Commission this week. Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto got 62.5 million votes, or 47 percent.

Muhammad Mahendradatta, one of Subianto’s lawyers, told reporters that millions of votes cast for the ex-general were lost, the latest allegations made by his campaign since he withdrew shortly before the result was announced.

“We are filing this complaint to ensure that the election was clean and fair,” Mahendradatta said.

He said that alleged irregularities at 58,000 polling stations would put an estimated 21 million votes in question. His campaign team has also said it would give evidence that poll officials inflated other candidate’s results, that voters used improper registration cards and that recounts were done inconsistently.

In a YouTube video Friday, Subianto called on people to reject the Election Commission’s results.

“With deep sadness and regret, we have to say that the presidential election actually was failed, illegitimate and violated the principles of democracy,” Subianto said. “If we agree with the Election Commission decision, means we condone cheating and lies.”

About 100 Subianto supporters protested near the court building, chanting “Prabowo is the real president” and holding banners saying the court should be neutral and demanding re-election.

Constitutional Court official Kasianur Sidauruk said the case would be heard by Aug. 6 and the verdict would come on Aug. 21. The ruling cannot be appealed.

Indonesia was voting in its third direct presidential election after emerging from dictatorship, and defeated candidates in the previous two elections also challenged the results in the court, but failed.

Update hourly