President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has been declared the victor of last month’s presidential election with 55.5% of the vote, while his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto received 44.5%.
Prabowo responded by claiming the people’s rights were “being raped”, but denied his rejection of the election result was tantamount to treason.
The General Elections Commission on Tuesday (21 May) announced a day ahead of schedule that Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin were victorious with 85,607,362 votes, while Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno received 68,650,239 votes. The early announcement was viewed as a move to defuse protests that Prabowo’s camp has threatened to unleash on Jakarta.
In a related development, Gerindra officials strongly denied reports that police had named Prabowo a treason suspect because of his repeated allegations of cheating and his calls for people to protest the election result.
Prabowo claimed there was massive, systematic fraud, but his campaign team’s “evidence” of the alleged cheating consisted of online articles, which were rejected by the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu). Rather than concede defeat gracefully, Prabowo has branded Jokowi’s rule illegitimate and encouraged his supporters to stage a “people power” movement.
CNN Indonesia on Tuesday reported that Jakarta Police had named Prabowo a treason suspect. Gerindra deputy chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad confirmed police had issued a Notification Letter of Investigation Commencement (SPDP) to the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, but he insisted that Prabowo was neither a suspect nor a witness.
He said Prabowo was merely reported in a case in which controversial lawyer and National Mandate Party (PAN) member Eggi Sudjana was named a treason suspect. “It is not true that an SPDP has been issued against Mr Prabowo regarding a treason case. What was issued was the SPDP against Eggi Sudjana.”
The alleged police document names Prabowo as the reported party in the case in which Eggi is suspected of treason and spreading news or announcements that create public unrest and/or spreading baseless or incomplete information. Dasco said Prabowo cannot be linked to treason because he “always pursues legal and constitutional” actions.
Another member of Prabowo’s campaign team, Andre Rosiade, said Prabowo is protected by law as a presidential candidate and cannot be convicted.
Rape Allegation, Treason Denial
In a video circulating on Tuesday, Prabowo said the people’s rights had been seized and raped. “We understand that our people are worried, that we are concerned about the huge fraud done in the elections that we just carried out,” he said, sitting cross-legged in the video circulated by his campaign team, which is called the National Winning Body (BPN).
“Brothers and sisters, this problem is not a matter of winning or losing, it is not an individual personal problem, but it is very much of problem of principle, namely the sovereignty of the people. It really feels the rights of the people have been seized, the rights of the people are being raped.”
He urged authorities not to respond violently against people who protest the election result, as the right to protest is guaranteed by law. He also appealed to his supporters to be peaceful. “I continue to urge that all actions, all activities run in the spirit of peace. Our steps are constitutional steps, democratic but peaceful steps, without any violence,” he said.
That message has fallen on deaf ears on least one “closed” (members only) Facebook group of Prabowo supporters, who have been posting messages calling for riots.
Prabowo denied his rejection of the presidential election result is an act of treason. “We have no intention of treason, there is no intention by us to violate the law,” he said.
Prabowo now has three days in which he can file an appeal against the election result to the Constitutional Court.
Updates: Police later on Tuesday said they had withdrawn the investigation warrant naming Prabowo because “he is a national figure who must be respected”.
Separately, Prabowo’s team said they would appeal the election result at the Constitutional Court.