Indonesian authorities deployed hundreds of armed troops around the country’s Constitutional Court in Jakarta as it began a preliminary hearing into a petition challenging the official presidential election result that handed incumbent Joko Widodo a second term.
The court began examining the evidence submitted by Prabowo Subianto on Friday to determine if it needs to hold a trial from Monday. Prabowo, as Subianto is commonly known, is challenging the official results of the April 17 election which showed Jokowi, as Widodo is known, winning by 11 percentage points.
The heightened security alert is to prevent any violent protests by Prabowo’s supporters after rioting in Jakarta following the announcement of the official result last month left at least 7 people dead and hundreds injured, according to Coordinating Minister for Political, Justice and Security Affairs Wiranto.
While Prabowo has appealed to his supporters not to gather outside the court, some groups have called for a rally at the national monument, about 300 meters away from the hearing.
“The security apparatus is always vigilant in maintaining security in view of what has happened and what’s been anticipated so that the public remains calm,” Wiranto said in a statement. “We welcome Prabowo’s appeal to his supporters to not flock to the court and respect the legal process.”
Prabowo’s counsel Bambang Widjojanto urged the court on Friday to “hold a fair trial to deliver justice to the people of Indonesia.” The declaration of Jokowi as the winner by the General Elections Commission is invalid and unconstitutional as the authority failed to conduct a transparent election, he said.
Prabowo, who unsuccessfully challenged his loss to Jokowi in 2014, has repeatedly alleged voter fraud and counting irregularities.
The government will not impose any curbs on social media like it did during last month’s rioting as authorities have successfully clamped down on websites spreading hoaxes related to the election outcome, Communications Minister Rudiantara said by phone.
The court is scheduled to hear the appeal from June 17 if it finds the evidence as admissible and deliver its ruling on June 28.