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Indonesian activists protest ex-general's win in presidential election and allege massive fraud

Associated Press - February 16, 2024

Andi Jatmiko and Niniek Karmini, Jakarta, Indonesia – Protesters marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday demanding the election authority stop Prabowo Subianto from taking office as the next president and claiming widespread electoral fraud.

Subianto, a former general linked to past human rights abuses, has claimed victory in the presidential election on Wednesday after unofficial tallies showed him taking over 58% of the vote in a three-way race.

Subianto's win is not yet official as the official results could take up to a month to be tabulated. His two rivals, former governors Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, refused to concede and alleged massive fraud in the election.

Authorities blocked streets leading to the heavily guarded General Election Commission building, which was barricaded with razor wire. Dozens of demonstrators held banners and signs that slammed President Joko Widodo for supporting Subianto, who picked Widodo's son as his running mate.

"We demand justice, we demand a fair vote count," Siti Aisyah, one of the protesters, said. "Don't let cheating win, they will ruin democracy in our country again."

The campaign teams of both Baswedan and Pranowo said they would provide evidence for their claims of cheating.

"There are strong indications that violations occurred in a structured, systematic and massive way in the presidential election," said Hamdan Zoelva, a former Constitutional Court chief judge who is part of Baswedan's team.

Hasto Kristiyanto, the secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, which nominated Pranowo, said that election irregularities were enforced from the top down, starting with Widodo's son Gibran Rakabuming Raka's candidacy for vice-president. The Constitutional Court had to make an exception to the minimum age requirement of 40 for Raka to run.

The current chief justice, who is Widodo's brother-in-law, was later removed by an ethics panel for failing to recuse himself and for making last-minute changes to the election candidacy requirements.

Widodo dismissed fraud allegations and any manipulation of the judiciary or favoring a particular pair of candidates, saying the election process was watched by many people, including representatives of the candidates, the election supervisory agency and security personnel.

"Layered supervision like this would eliminate the possible fraud," Widodo told reporters on Thursday, "Don't scream fraud. We have mechanism to solve the fraud, if you have evidence, take it to the Election Supervisory Agency, if you have evidence, challenge it to the Constitutional Court."

Subianto had refused to accept the result of the 2019 election that pitted him against Widodo for a second time, leading to violence that left seven dead in Jakarta. In the past two elections, Indonesia's Constitutional Court had rejected Subianto bids to overturn Widodo's victory and dismissed his claims of widespread fraud as groundless.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/indonesian-activists-protest-generals-win-presidential-election-allege-10728934