By Angela Marie Watkins
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri launched a Constitutional Court challenge Tuesday to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s landslide re-election victory.
Megawati received 26.79 percent of votes in the July 8 poll and Kalla 12.41 percent, while Yudhoyono received 60.8 percent, according to the final count released by the General Election Commission Saturday.
But Megawati believes she has won 35.09 percent compared to 48.70 percent for Yudhoyono, close enough to force the pair to contest a run-off in September, her chief legal adviser Gayus Lumbuun said.
“A lot of foul play in the election has meant people in this country have not been able to use their constitutional rights,” Firman Jaya Daeli, a member of Megawati’s camp, told reporters.
Megawati claims millions of voters — out of around 170 million who eligible in the world’s third-biggest democracy — were disenfranchised by inaccurate voter lists and insufficient polling booths in key districts.
Both defeated candidates had alleged that the voter lists were flawed in the run-up to the elections, amid claims that duplicate names and those of dead people were appearing on the electoral rolls.
Kalla has also challenged the results at the Constitutional Court. He said his challenge was about protecting the future of democracy in a country that emerged from 32 years of dictatorship only 11 years ago.
“The principle is that this nation must progress properly, honestly and democratically, because the democratic process must be implemented correctly and fairly,” Kalla said
Supporters of Kalla have alleged that electoral lists contained around 20 million duplicate names.
Election Supervisory Body chief Nur Hidayat Sardini said that “there were many violations,” but said the polls were “considered a success.”
President Yudhoyono was elected president in 2004 and Indonesians have, correspondents say, been impressed by his ability to manage the economy and clamp down on corruption.
Many see President Yudhoyono as someone who has turned the economy around and brought much-needed stability and security to the country.
For more information, please see:
BBC – Indonesia poll result challenged – 25 July 2009
Reuters – Indonesia president’s rivals cry foul after poll win – 25 July 2009
AFP – Megawati challenges Indonesia vote result – 28 July 2009