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Prabowo-Gibran win election in first-round sweep, but could their victory be called into question?



The newly elected President and Vice President of Indonesia; Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming at one of their campaign rallies (Source : Prabowo-Gibran campaign team official Instagram account (@prabowo.gibran2))

The results of the 2024 Indonesian presidential elections are in; the pairing of Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming have come out with a resounding victory. The General Elections Commision (Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU) announced on the 20th of March that the duo amassed a total of 96,214,691 votes out of the 164,227,475 available total votes that were officially counted. In addition to this, they came out as the top vote-getters in 36 out of the 38 provinces in the country. Having achieved a simple majority and receiving more than 20% of the votes in at least half of the provinces in Indonesia, the pair have successfully managed to win the election without having to proceed onto a second round.

A single-round victory in this year’s elections was among the main talking points propagated by the pair in their campaign rallies, often citing that a second round of elections would take money out of government funds that could be used on other things such as social welfare programs. Though indeed the pair have managed to achieve said target, it seems that their victory lap will not come to pass uncontested, as the camps from both other presidential candidates have motioned for the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi, MK) to look into the results of Prabowo and Gibran’s resounding victory in the first round.

Former Chief Justice Anwar Usman who was presiding over the hearing that deemed Rakabuming’s candidacy as Vice President to be valid, was highly criticized for his presumed lack of impartiality due to being Rakabuming’s uncle (Source: ANTARA FOTO/Aditya Pradana Putra)

The presidential run of the number 2 candidates has indeed been marred with controversy from the start. As was the case with the other elections in which he was in the running, Prabowo’s shoddy human rights record during his time in the military continues to be called into question regarding his case as a potential president-elect. However, this is perhaps the first election in which his running mate has accrued just as much if not more ire from the masses regarding their candidacy.

Vice President-elect Gibran Rakabuming, incumbent Mayor of Solo, and firstborn son of President Joko Widodo’s candidacy had been a contentious one even from the outset. For one, many have pointed to his age of just 36 years old which would still be under the minimum age for a president or vice president in Indonesia (40 years old, as regulated in Law No. 17 of 2017), as potential cause for disqualification. Regarding this, the KPU ruled that he would be given an exception for failing to meet the age requirement as he has already held office as a regional leader.

His status as son of the sitting president has also been a source of controversy, with critics citing his candidacy being a result of nepotism and an attempt to start a political dynasty. This became apparent when the KPU ruling that allowed Rakabuming to run as a vice presidential candidate was issued under Chief Justice Anwar Usman, who happens to be President Widodo’s brother-in-law. Though Usman would eventually be dismissed for violation of ethics, the ruling was not overturned and Rakabuming’s run as a vice presidential candidate continued unimpeded.

The Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi), the institution that will investigate and ultimately decide the fate of the complaints issued by the two losing candidates regarding the electoral results (Source: Faculty of Law UMSU/Maksum Rangkuti)

The Constitutional Court allows for a three-day period in which one may issue a dispute on the electoral results. Both of the camps of the two rival candidates to Prabowo-Gibran: Anies-Muhaimin and Ganjar-Mahfud, have registered their complaints to the Constitutional Court, pleading for a recount of the votes as well as to look into potential signs of voter fraud. The candidacy of Gibran Rakabuming as Vice President was again also brought into contention, with both camps arguing for his ineligibility being grounds for his dismissal.

These court proceedings have only just begun and the Constitutional Court has yet to come out with an official ruling on this matter. Ironically, Subianto himself was once on this side of the court when he disputed the results of the 2019 presidential election which saw him lose for the second time to President Joko Widodo. Supporters of Subianto also disputed the electoral results as they took to the streets, however, rising tensions during these protests led to the death of eight individuals and injured several hundred others. Evidently, Subianto’s disputes at the time still did not result in any change in the electoral results, though it remains to be seen if this year’s efforts from the losing candidates will follow that same fate or somehow be able to break new ground.

Tulisan : Ektada Bilhadi Mohamad


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