Indonesian Minister: Allegations of Systematic Poll Fraud ‘Baseless’

Arie Firdaus
190424_ID_Wiranto_1000.jpg Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs Wiranto (center) speaks as National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian (left) and Armed Forces Chief Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto (right) listen during a press conference in Jakarta, a day after the Indonesian general election, April 18, 2019.

Opposition accusations that massive and systematic cheating marred the April 17 Indonesian elections were false and designed to delegitimize results, the security affairs minister said Wednesday, emphasizing that the nation’s electoral oversight bodies were independent and endorsed by parliament.

Opposition presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has rejected unofficial vote results through so-called quick counts by at least five independent pollsters, and claimed widespread attempts at fraud. The counts showed incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo leading with 54 percent of the vote in the presidential election, which was held simultaneously last week with legislative and regional polls across Southeast Asia’s largest country.

On Tuesday, Prabowo campaign spokesman Dahnil Anzar Nasution alleged that election fraud was not only “systematic, massive and structural, but also brutal.”

Security Affairs Minister Wiranto rejected the latest allegations, saying the General Election Commission (KPU) was an independent institution whose members were appointed by Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR).

“It never crossed the government’s mind to interfere with the KPU and Bawaslu (the Election Supervisory Agency), let alone engaging in a systematic, massive and structural conspiracy in favor of one particular candidate,” Wiranto told a news conference in Jakarta.

“The accusations are very tendentious, false, slanderous and baseless and are only intended to delegitimize the government, the KPU and the Bawaslu as election organizers,” he said.

Official results of the presidential and parliamentary elections are expected to be announced by the KPU in late May.

“The KPU and Bawaslu are independent, not tied to any institution so they are not controlled by the government.”

Over the weekend, a member of the Prabowo team, Said Didu, accused the government of mobilizing officials and workers at state-owned companies across the country to support Jokowi in the election.

On Wednesday, a crowd of pro-Prabowo demonstrators rallied in front of the Bawaslu office in Central Jakarta, demanding the agency declare the election as fraudulent.

Post-election tensions have prompted police to beef up security in the Indonesian capital, with armored vehicles and members of the Mobile Brigade anti-riot police on stand-by in several locations, including shopping malls in the wealthy and mainly ethnic Chinese area of Kelapa Gading.

Members of the ethnic Chinese minority were often targeted during past social unrest in Indonesia.

“Because there’s a shortage of personnel in Jakarta, we have deployed members from other regions,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told BenarNews, without revealing the number of reinforcements.

“We are anticipating all eventualities,” he said.

‘People Power’

In March, Amien Rais, a former national assembly speaker and a figure who played a key role in the downfall of President Suharto in 1998, threatened to mobilize “people power” if the April 17 elections were not fair.

“There wouldn’t be any bloodshed because it would be people power,” he said at the time.

Amien is the chief patron of the National Mandate Party, a member of the coalition that supported Prabowo.

But a spokesman for the Prabowo campaign, Andre Rosiade, said his camp would not take any unconstitutional measures to challenge electoral results.

He criticized the security measures taken by police as excessive.

“It is as if the situation was not safe. It doesn’t look good in the eyes of the international community,” Andre said.

Last week, Wiranto and Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, the country’s armed forces chief, warned that any post-poll unrest would be dealt with.

“We will not tolerate and will take stern action against attempts to disturb public order or unconstitutional acts that undermine the democratic process,” Hadi said.

Meanwhile, the Jokowi campaign said the incumbent had a 10-percentage point lead in the official preliminary count, with votes from another 22 percent of the more than 800,000 polling stations having been counted.

Campaign spokeswoman Irma Chaniago accused the Prabowo camp of making “one-sided claims.”

“We are grateful that candidate number 1 is still leading the actual vote count conducted by the KPU,” she said in a statement, referring to Jokowi’s numerical designation on the ballot.

Nearly 81 percent of 190 million eligible Indonesians voted in last week’s polls, according to the government.

Voters elected a president, 575 members of the House of Representatives (DPR), 136 members of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) and almost 20,000 members of local legislatures in 548 provinces, districts and municipalities.


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