Indonesia’s PDI-P Says That It Will Seek Election Investigation

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Indonesia’s PDI-P Says That It Will Seek Election Investigation

A senior party official says that the election, which was won decisively by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, was tainted by “abuse of power.”

Indonesia’s PDI-P Says That It Will Seek Election Investigation
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Indonesia’s ruling party has raised concerns about the conduct of this month’s presidential election, and says it will seek official investigations into alleged violations of election laws.

In comments given to Reuters, Hasto Kristiyanto, the secretary general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that the party is seeking a parliamentary investigation of the conduct of February 14 polls and plans also to file a case with the Constitutional Court, on an unspecified timeframe.

The party believed that the poll had been marred “by abuse of power, ranging from legal aspects to the use of state facilities,” Hasto told the news agency. “If we did not do this comprehensive correction, then what’s the point of having an election in the future?” he added.

While official results will not be released until next month, unofficial counts show that Prabowo Subianto, a former New Order-era general, won the election in a single round of voting, with about 58 percent of the vote. His two rivals, Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, who ran under the PDI-P’s banner, are projected to have secured 25 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

Both Anies and Ganjar have expressed concerns that last week’s election was tainted by fraud and abuses of power, and called for a parliamentary investigation into the polls.

The PDI-P announcement came after Indonesia Corruption Watch and KontraS, a human rights group, declared on Friday that the election was the least free and fair of any election since the fall of Suharto and his New Order administration in 1998.

“We think it is reasonable for the public to question the election results, based on the process that is suspected to be fraudulent and problematic,” the groups said. “The failure of the General Elections Commission to carry out its responsibilities as an election organizer, and the dysfunctionality of the Election Supervisory Agency as an election monitor has led us to categorize the 2024 elections as the worst elections in the reform era.”

While no group has so far provided evidence to support these claims that the election was tainted by fraud and manipulation, concern has been centered around the role of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Despite running as the PDI-P’s candidate in both the 2014 and 2019 elections, Jokowi did not endorse Ganjar. Instead, he appeared to show a preference for Prabowo, his defense minister, whom he had defeated at the two previous elections.

The Indonesia Corruption Watch/KontraS statement accused Jokowi of engineering his son’s appointment as Prabowo’s vice-presidential running mate. The 36-year-old Gibran Rakabuming Raka was only able to run due to a last-minute ruling by the Constitutional Court, then headed by Jokowi’s brother-in-law, that created an exception to the minimum age requirement of 40. They also accused Jokowi of showing favoritism toward the Prabowo campaign.

The watchdog groups said the election commission did not provide the public with enough information on the source of campaign funds for the elections, and said that the vote-counting process was opaque and unreliable. They claimed to have documented 310 cases of alleged fraud such as “the mobilization of village heads to support the Prabowo-Gibran ticket, the tampering of ballots by polling station workers, and vote buying,” according to BenarNews’ paraphrase.

In a report on Indonesia’s election released last week, the Asian Network for Free Elections noted “concerns regarding the quality of various aspects of the overall electoral processes.” These included concerns about the independence of the election commission and the “mobilization and misuse of state resources to sway voter preferences.”

The Coalition for Change that backed the Anies campaign has also announced that it will support the PDI-P’s push for official investigations into the conduct of the election. Jokowi has claimed that he is not really concerned about the plan to investigate alleged fraud. “It’s a democratic right. No problem,” he said last week.

How far any of these complaints go remains unclear. Indonesia’s parliament does not usually address election complaints – that is normally dealt with by the Constitutional Court – though it does have the power to investigate the government policies and the conduct of public officials. This suggests that the protests are intended more as a way of applying political pressure on the Prabowo administration before it takes office, a potential foreshadowing of a more adversarial political climate following the virtual consensus of the Jokowi decade.

In any event, the protracted period between the election and when the president-elect will take the oath of office – Prabowo will not be sworn in until October – offers ample time for repeated challenges, and political maneuvers, to be orchestrated.