Indonesian presidential candidate challenges Prabowo’s election victory

Arie Firdaus
Indonesian presidential candidate challenges Prabowo’s election victory Indonesian presidential candidate Anies Baswedan (right) and his vice-presidential running mate Muhaimin Iskandar hold a press conference in Jakarta on March 21, 2024, after the election commission announced Prabowo Subianto the winner of last month’s vote.
Adek Berry/AFP

Losing Indonesian presidential candidate Anies Baswedan on Thursday filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court challenging last month’s election result, alleging that the inclusion of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son as a vice-presidential contender influenced the fairness of the vote.

The lawsuit comes a day after election officials declared that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, who ran alongside Jokowi’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, secured 58.61% of the vote on Feb.14 – far outpacing his rivals.

Former Jakarta Gov. Baswedan received 24.9% and former Central Java Gov. Ganjar Pranowo won 16.5%.

“If this is accepted as a strong argument by the Constitutional Court, we hope for a re-vote without [Prabowo’s] vice-presidential candidate participating,” said Ari Yusuf Amin, the head of Anies’ legal team.

Allegations of nepotism surfaced following a contentious Constitutional Court ruling that changed eligibility rules to allow Gibran to become Prabowo’s running mate. 

The court’s chief justice at the time, Anwar Usman, is Jokowi’s brother-in-law and he was later found guilty of ethical violations.

“Our submission highlights the problematic nature of the vice-presidential nomination process,” Ari said. “The issues began from the outset and escalated significantly, especially since the candidate in question is the president’s son, leading to far-reaching consequences.

“We call for a battle that is conducted with integrity, fairness and freedom,” he added.

Anies’ campaign has previously alleged that the election was marred by fraud and favoritism toward Prabowo, whose campaign was bolstered by the implicit support of the still immensely popular Jokowi.

The outgoing president did not publicly endorse any candidate to replace him, but critics alleged that his administration had tampered with government materials and influenced the judiciary to ensure a victory for Prabowo and Gibran.

The legal team of Indonesian presidential candidate Anies Baswedan files a petition over the result of the Feb. 14 election, which was decisively won by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, at the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, March 21, 2024. [Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

Anies, speaking before the lawsuit was filed, emphasized the importance of a fair electoral process. 

“The process and the outcome are equally important. A proper process will yield a proper outcome,” he told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Jakarta.

Two watchdog groups have labeled the election as the worst since Indonesia’s transition to democracy 25 years ago, citing issues with campaign finance and electoral fraud.

Hundreds of Indonesians took to the streets of Jakarta this week to call for Jokowi’s ouster for allegedly meddling in the election.

But the Election Commission said on Wednesday it was confident that the vote was conducted fairly.

Ganjar has also declared his intent to challenge the results, alleging widespread fraud and vote-buying.

“We have prepared a legal team and will soon register the dispute, whether tomorrow [Friday] or Saturday,” he told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Jakarta.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the judges at the Constitutional Court to demonstrate their credibility.”

Prabowo’s campaign team dismissed the challenges as baseless. 

“We are optimistic that we will be able to overcome the legal challenges,” said Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, a spokesman for the campaign.

The outcome of Anies’ legal challenge is expected to be announced in April.


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