Controversial Indonesian defense minister wins presidential election

  • Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto was elected president and declared the winner on Wednesday.
  • Subianto, accused of abusing his power under the brutally authoritarian Suharto regime, chose the son of popular current president Joko Widodo as his running mate. He will be sworn in on October 20.
  • Subianto won 58.6% of the vote in last month’s election, with turnout reportedly around 80%.

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto was announced as the winner of the award President election Two former governors in one of the world’s largest democracies vowed on Wednesday to challenge the election results in court over alleged irregularities.

Subianto, accused of abuses of power under past dictatorships, chose the popular son of the outgoing president as his running mate and won 58.6% of the vote. The election commission said former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan received 24.9% of the vote and former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo received 16.5%. It posted the polling station tables on its website for independent verification.

Subianto said he would respect those who make different choices at the polls.

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“The election is over,” he told a news conference. “We call on all Indonesians to look to the future together. We must unite and join hands because the challenges we face as a country are enormous.”

Nearly 5,000 police officers are on alert in the capital, Jakarta, as supporters of the defeated candidate are expected to stage protests. The Electoral Commission headquarters was cordoned off with barbed wire.

About 300 demonstrators carried banners and signs criticizing outgoing President Joko Widodo for supporting Subianto and alleging widespread fraud. They burned garbage near the Electoral Commission compound and burned photos of the president.

In Indonesia, election challenges can be registered with the Constitutional Court within three days of the official results being announced. Baswedan and Planovo refused to concede and said they planned to challenge.

“We do not want to let these deviations from democracy pass without a historical record and set a bad precedent for future election organizers,” Baswedan said after the final results were announced.

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They allege fraud, citing Widodo’s son’s vice-presidential candidacy. Widodo is unable to run again and his son’s candidacy is seen as a sign of his acquiescence in Subianto.

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto raises his fist while speaking after being elected as the country’s president in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Subianto on Wednesday defeated two sworn-in former governors in last month’s presidential election. Challenge the alleged violations in court. (AP Photo/Ahmed Ibrahim)

Widodo’s son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, now 37, became Subianto’s running mate after the Constitutional Court made an exception to the 40-year minimum age requirement for candidates. The court’s chief judge, who is Widodo’s brother-in-law, was later dismissed by the ethics committee for failing to recuse himself and changing the requirements for election candidacy at the last minute.

The new president will take office on October 20 and must appoint a cabinet within two weeks.

Subianto was declared the winner on Election Day last month, with unofficial tallies showing he won nearly 60% of the vote.

The electoral commission said the voter turnout was about 80%.

Subianto won in 36 of the 38 provinces, with 96.2 million votes cast, while Baswedan won in two provinces, with 40.9 million votes cast.Former Head of Baswedan islamic universityWon an overwhelming majority of seats in the conservative westernmost province of Aceh.

Pranuovo, the candidate of Indonesia’s ruling Democratic Party of Struggle, received 27 million votes but did not win any provinces.

Todung Mulya Lubis, a lawyer representing Planovo, claimed electoral irregularities occurred before, during and after the election.

Widodo denied the accusations of fraud, saying the electoral process was watched by many, including candidate representatives, election watchdogs and security personnel.

“Such layered regulation will eliminate possible fraud,” Widodo told reporters last month. “Don’t cry fraud. We have mechanisms to address fraud. If you have evidence, take it to the electoral watchdog. If you have evidence, challenge it to the Constitutional Court.”

The campaigns of Baswedan and Planovo said they would provide evidence for their claims.

But Lubis said his team had difficulty getting witnesses to testify because of alleged intimidation from authorities. He acknowledged that successfully challenging the election results with such a large official margin would be difficult.

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The ethics committee that removed Supreme Court chief justice Anwar Usman has allowed him to remain on the court under certain conditions, including barring him from participating in the court’s decision on election disputes this year.

This means that any such case brought before the court will be decided by eight judges rather than all nine.

Subianto’s campaign highlights the Widodo government’s reduce poverty and vowed to press ahead with the modernization agenda that has delivered rapid growth and propelled Indonesia into the ranks of middle-income countries.

But Subianto has laid out few other concrete plans for his presidency, leaving observers unsure of what his election will mean for the country’s growth and still-maturing democracy.

Subianto lost two previous presidential elections to Widodo, with the Constitutional Court rejecting his request to overturn the results on baseless claims of fraud.

This time, Subianto embraced the popular leader and proclaimed himself his heir. His choice of Widodo’s son as his running mate has raised concerns about emerging dynastic rule in Indonesia’s 25-year-old democracy.

Subianto comes from one of the country’s wealthiest families. His father was an influential politician who served as a government minister under the dictator Suharto and the country’s first president, Sukarno.

Questions also remain unanswered about Subianto’s alleged links to torture, disappearances and other human rights abuses in the final years of the brutal Suharto dictatorship, during which he served as a special forces lieutenant general.

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Subianto was expelled from the army after being accused of involvement in the kidnapping and torture of activists, among other abuses. Although several of his men were tried and convicted, he never faced trial and vehemently denied any involvement.

It’s unclear how Subianto will respond to political dissent, street protests and critical journalism. Many activists viewed his ties to the Suharto regime as a threat.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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