Indonesia’s Opposition cries foul over voter list ahead of poll

JAKARTA • Indonesia’s Opposition has warned of street protests if irregularities in the country’s electoral roll are not resolved before the presidential poll later this month.

Political parties backing Prabowo Subianto’s bid for the presidency will legally challenge the outcome if the former general loses the poll to incumbent Joko Widodo in the April 17 vote, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, communications director for Prabowo’s campaign team, told reporters in Jakarta yesterday.

As many as 18.8 million names on the electoral roll may be fraudulent or inaccurate, Hashim said.

The allegations of voter fraud are similar to the charges made by Prabowo, as Subianto is popularly known, in 2014 after losing to Widodo in a bitterly contested election.

A lawsuit challenging the result was rejected by the country’s Constitutional Court. The Opposition parties have already petitioned the General Elections Commission, known as KPU, about the irregularities, Djojohadikusumo said.

There are “serious questions about how the election is being run”, said Djojohadikusumo, who is also Prabowo’s brother.

“There are neighbouring countries where exactly the same thing has happened. In Thailand, it happened last weekend. We are afraid the same thing will happen in this country.”

The election commission, which ordered an investigation into allegations of voter fraud last month, has yet to release its findings.

Viryan Azis, a commissioner at KPU, didn’t immediately respond to request for comments yesterday.

Arya Sinulingga, a spokesman for the Widodo’s campaign, said the allegations were “an attempt to de-legitimise the KPU and the results of the election”.

Amien Rais, a senior member of the National Mandate Party which is part of Prabowo’s coalition, said the Opposition would “mobilise people” after the election if the result was not satisfactory.

Rais was a prominent figure in an Opposition campaign in late 2016 against Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese Christian, that exposed religious tensions in Muslim-majority Indonesia and saw hundreds of thousands of its people rally in the streets of the capital. — Bloomberg