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Defeated candidates in Indonesian elections call for parliamentary inquiry

Defeated candidates in Indonesian elections call for parliamentary inquiry


JAKARTA (Reuters) – Two unsuccessful candidates in last week's Indonesian presidential election have urged parliament to look into complaints of irregularities that arose in the run-up to the election.

The call comes despite comments from independent observers that there was no sign of systematic fraud in the world's largest single-day election, apart from problems such as outdated voter lists or delays in the ballot.

While official results are not expected until March 20, unofficial tallies show Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto won the race in a single round of voting, with about 58% of the vote.

Rivals Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo are expected to have received 25% and 17%, respectively, with a preliminary tally from election authorities showing a similar split.

However, without providing evidence, both losing camps complained of voter intimidation, manipulation of state institutions and misuse of state resources, such as social funds, during the campaign electoral to influence the outcome of the elections.

On Monday, Ganjar called for an investigation when Parliament resumed on March 5.

“Something like this needs to be investigated,” he said. “At a minimum, Parliament should hold a hearing.”

Anies, a former governor of the capital Jakarta, said Tuesday his camp was “ready to participate” in a parliamentary inquiry that will allow lawmakers to investigate the government's actions.

“We consider this a good initiative.”

Anies does not belong to any political party but is supported by three while Ganjar is supported by two, including the largest party in Parliament, the PDI-P.

Incumbent President Joko Widodo has been criticized for his tacit support for Prabowo and his attempts to influence the outcome in the run-up to polling day, but he and his allies have denied the accusations.

An investigation would be difficult to launch because it would require support from lawmakers, said Arya Fernandes of the Indonesian Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Even if the investigation is approved, its result will not be able to overturn the election results,” he added, but will instead aim to put pressure on the new government.

Prabowo, who lost the last two presidential elections in 2014 and 2019, challenged the result twice in Indonesia's Constitutional Court, citing widespread cheating. These measures provoked violent street protests.

Both efforts, however, were rejected.

(Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)




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