JAKARTA: An Indonesian court on Thursday upheld the victory of Joko Widodo at last month’s presidential election, rejecting claims of widespread cheating from his opponent and ending weeks of political uncertainty in the world’s third-biggest democracy.
After two weeks of hearings, the Constitutional Court said it was rejecting ex-general Prabowo Subianto’s challenge to the results of the July 9 elections.
Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva said the court was “rejecting the entire petition”, after the judges spent seven hours reading out the lengthy verdict. The verdict cannot be appealed.
It clears the way for Jakarta governor Widodo, known by his nickname Jokowi and the country’s first leader from outside the political and military elites, to focus on preparing for government ahead of his October 20 inauguration.
The final day of the long election season was not without drama, however — as the judges started reading their verdict, police fired volleys of tear gas and water cannon at thousands of angry Prabowo supporters near the court.
The protesters had tried to force their way past lines of riot police and barbed wire blocking the road to the court. Three people were injured and four arrested.
Both Prabowo, a top military figure in the era of dictator Suharto with a chequered human rights record, and Widodo, the reform-minded governor of Jakarta, declared victory on the day of the election.
But official results released after a two-week count across the vast archipelago showed Widodo won a decisive, six-point victory after the hardest-fought, most polarising election since authoritarian rule ended in 1998.
The 53-year-old won legions of fans with his down-to-earth approach as Jakarta governor and is known by his nickname Jokowi.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.