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  • 🇮🇩 It's official! (Again) Prabowo, Gibran and 58% of Indonesian voters prevail in court challenge

🇮🇩 It's official! (Again) Prabowo, Gibran and 58% of Indonesian voters prevail in court challenge

Is it better to be in The Plastics, hating life, than to not be in at all?

Hello friends!

It’s all done and dusted in Jakarta. Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka are officially (I think for the second time?) the declared president- and vice president-elect of Indonesia after the final judicial hurdle was cleared on Monday.

It’s a long and winding road to inauguration in October — especially if it goes ahead in Nusantara, the new purpose-built capital. Who is in the ruling coalition, who will play opposition and what’s Anies Baswedan going to do next? No idea about that final one, but on the first two we’ve got some answers this week.

Was very lucky to chat about all things Constitutional Court decision with Kevin O’Rourke and Steven Handoko this week so give it a listen and subscribe here to Reformasi Dispatch:

Kevin also spoke with Dr Dan Slater, the University of Michigan academic who studies democracy and politics in the region. He also co-authored From Development to Democracy with Joseph Wong last year which I loved — truly, I was raving about it for months! I’m bummed I missed the chance to poke/prod Slater’s big brain but the conversation with Kevin is excellent.

Prabowo and Gibran secure victory

Good try, but you’ll have to wait for 2029. That’s the message from the Constitutional Court in twin challenges to the election brought by losing tickets Anies Baswedan-Cak Imin and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD. Both teams argued the undue influence of incumbent President Joko Widodo tipped the scales way too far in favour of Defence Minster Prabowo Subianto and Jokowi’s son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, including the previous Court decision which allowed young Gibran to run at all. 

There was no indication of “meddling” or fraud and all state agencies acted within their legal limits, the court said in a split decision. Five voted to wholly reject the petitions, but three offered dissenting opinions — the first time that’s happened in these sorts of post-election challenges! I had a really great chat about this with Kevin and the various remarks, including a bizarrely specific definition of nepotism that found it couldn’t be nepotism because the people elected Gibran. Never mind that he only got on the ticket because of dad and an uncle on the court — though I suppose they can hardly say that. 

Anecdotally, from conversations with friends, there was an air of inevitability about these results and now the consensus is, from proud Prabowo voters, puzzled Ganjar supporters and closeted Anies backers: let’s get on with it. It’s a view the president-elect agrees with. 

Let’s all come together, says Prabowo. “I will prove that I will fight for all Indonesians, including those who did not vote for me,” he said Wednesday as he called for everyone to unite and be friendly again. “If Indonesia wants to survive, becoming a prosperous country, all elites must work together. If we dare to leave our differences aside, let's leave our feelings, let's find our love for the country, let's sacrifice together for our people,” he said, as reported by Reuters

His love-in comes as parties that did not back the winning ticket mull over whether it’s better to stay in opposition and play it out, or go all-in on Prabowo. Cak Imin, who ran second-fiddle to Anies Baswedan, is certainly flirting. As chair of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Cak Imin met with Prabowo just hours after the KPU formally declared Prabowo winner on Wednesday. “PKB and Gerindra have been working together in both the legislative and executive and will aim to continue working together more productively,” he said at a press conference Wednesday, as reported by Tempo

NasDem is set to shuffle over too, but that’s not going to shock anyone. The Surya Paloh-led party backed Anies and Cak Imin pledged its support for the pair on Thursday. “I will reiterate our readiness to throw our full support behind the new government under the leadership of Mr. Prabowo Subianto and Brother Gibran,” Surya Paloh said after meeting with Prabowo in Jakarta on Thursday, as reported by the Jakarta Globe. Surya following the scent of power is a no-brainer, but the combo of NasDem and PKB would make the governing coalition a formidable force. 

Where to for PDI-P and PKS? The Megawati Sukarnoputri-helmed PDI-P will remain the single largest party in the House but have indicated it’s opposition time. I pestered Kevin a lot about this in this week’s podcast, so give that a listen! (Can you tell I briefly forgot about the presidency of SBY?) 

Personally — and assuming it stays this way, of course — I’m (somewhat) excited for a PDI-P opposition. The Jokowi-era was defined by the very broad camp of support in the House that left no opposition at all. It’s useless to wonder about what may have happened in the final years of his presidency if he did face genuine opposition, but perhaps instructive. Still, these broad, unwieldy coalitions have been a feature of Indonesian politics since Sukarno so I certainly don’t expect any Westminster-style yelling across chambers. Might be time to read that new Mietzner one. Either way, Jokowi and Gibran are officially, formally, set in stone out of the party

And then there’s the PKS but I never know what they’re up to, so we’ll wait for an analyst to weigh in. 

Coalitions aside, there are still some sticky questions left over for legislators after the court ruling. PKB lawmaker Yanuar Prihatin, who sits on House of Representatives Commission II overseeing home affairs, wants to see the election laws tightened to prevent the sort of grey area campaigning and funding we saw in the election period. 

“Until now, in the absence of clear, heavy sanctions, the president and ministers can influence people’s political choices by using state facilities and deliberately abusing their authority for their electoral goals,” he said Tuesday, as reported by the Jakarta Post. He also wants to see more rules around the leave sitting lawmakers can take to campaign — presumably in response to the perception that at times Jokowi seemed more part-time president, full-time campaigner.

Guspardi Gaus of the National Mandate Party and fellow Commission II member agrees: “There must be a clear definition as to what constitutes campaigning, even before or after the campaign season, and it must be stipulated in the Elections Law,” he said. 

Elsewhere in the House, research from the Jakarta-based CSIS has found the incoming House to be the oldest in Indonesia’s history. Members under the age of 40 make up just 15% of the House, accounting for 87 lawmakers, a decrease of 1% on the last term and the lowest yet. The average age, CSIS found, is 57. Which is an odd little fact when we remember how much was made of this election being the first in which millennial and Gen Z Indonesian voters became the majority. 

“The 2009 election was a pivotal point because, based on the data, most of the young lawmakers were political activists,” Arya Fernandes, CSIS’ head of politics and social change, said on Wednesday, as reported by the Jakarta Post. In that election, 23% of elected lawmakers were under 40 and represented a peak in a trend since the first Reformasi-era election in 1999. 

It’s all about incumbency and dynasties, the report found. More than 56% of the 580 elected legislators served in the previous term, making a challenge from younger, outsider forces very difficult. Similarly, of the 87 young people elected, 50 of them are related by blood or other connections to other lawmakers. The survey also found an increase in women representatives, hitting 22% at 127 women. 

Now, onwards with the regional races

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