Anies Baswedan challenges Indonesia presidential election, calls for rerun

Anies lost to former General Prabowo Subianto who secured 60 percent of the vote in February’s poll.

Anies Baswedan secured 25 percent of the vote, according to the official count [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]Published On 27 Mar 202427 Mar 2024

Anies Baswedan, who lost February’s presidential election in Indonesia, has told a court the poll was unjust and fraught with interference, as he laid out his challenge to the outcome and called for a re-run.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto emerged the as winner in the February 14 election with 60 percent of the votes. Anies came second with 25 percent, while Ganjar Pranowo was third with 16 percent.

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Prabowo’s running mate was 36-year-old Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of current President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, who remains hugely popular.

Anies, a former governor of Jakarta and education minister, alleged there was enormous pressure from the administration on regional authorities, and the mobilisation of social aid was a “transactional tool” to ensure one outcome.

He warned that the world’s third-largest democracy was at risk of sliding back into its authoritarian past.

“If we don’t perform corrections right now, then it’ll become a precedent in the future at votes on every level,” he said. “This practice will be perceived as normal, a habit.”

The Constitutional Court is expected to deliver its decision on April 22.

Challenges to election outcomes are common in Indonesia. Prabowo challenged the result when he lost to Jokowi in 2019, claiming there was widespread cheating and the outcome was rigged.

Anies’s team urged the court to order an election rerun that excludes Gibran, alleging his inclusion for the vice president’s post on Prabowo’s ticket unfairly influenced the vote.

Gibran, a former mayor of Solo, also known as Surakarta, was able to run after a court said candidate age limits did not apply when someone had already held public office.

His participation in the election fuelled criticism that Jokowi was trying to create a political dynasty.

The president’s allies have defended him and rejected criticism that he abused his position.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters