Prabowo’s legal team believes court will overturn election result based on technicality concerning Ma’ruf

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This month, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court is set to rule on a lawsuit by losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, which seeks to overturn President Joko Widodo’s re-election victory with allegations of massive and systemic voter fraud. Legal analysts have said Prabowo has little to no chance of winning the lawsuit, but his legal team says they believe a last-minute amendment to their case will lead to a legal victory.

Yesterday, Prabowo’s legal team made two last-minute additions to their lawsuit’s list of demands. One of them was a demand that President Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin be disqualified because Ma’ruf serves as an advisor to two sharia banking institutions, BNI Syariah and Bank Mandiri Syariah.

In their amendment to the lawsuit, Prabowo’s legal team argues that BNI Syariah and Bank Mandiri Syariah are state-owned enterprises, putting Ma’ruf in violation of Article 227 of the Election Law, which requires all presidential and vice presidential candidates to resign from their positions at state-owned enterprises in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

The head of Prabowo’s legal team, Denny Indrayana, said he was optimistic that judges would disqualify Ma’ruf and Jokowi over the violation.

“We believe that the noble constitutional judges will wisely carry out their role as guardians of the constitution, namely to uphold the principles of elections that are direct, public, free, confidential, honest and fair,” Denny told the media today as quoted by Kompas.

However, there are a number of reasons why this argument is unlikely to persuade the Constitutional Court judges. For one, the Constitutional Court does not have the legal jurisdiction to rule on the eligibility of candidates. That power lies with the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), which already signed off on Ma’ruf’s candidacy at the start of the election season.

Additionally, representatives for President Jokowi’s campaign argued that BNI Syariah and Bank Mandiri Syariah are not defined as state-owned enterprises since they are subsidiary units of the banks and do not receive capital directly from the state.

Nonetheless, the argument still appears to be on firmer legal ground than many of the others included in Prabowo’s lawsuit, most of which were backed up by evidence in the form of links to online news articles (seriously).

The Constitutional Court is expected to deliver a ruling on the lawsuit before the end of this month.

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