Trade union says election ridden with fraud, Prabowo-Gibran win illegitimate

CNN Indonesia – April 1, 2024
KASBI General Chairperson Sunarno speaking to reporters in Jakarta – Undated (KASBI)

Jakarta – The Labour Movement with the People (GEBRAK) says that the 2024 elections were the worst democratic process that has occurred since the era of reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998.

According to the trade union, the victory in the presidential election by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son Gibran Rakabuming Raka was illegitimate because it was achieved through various kinds of alleged fraud and electoral violations.

"The 2024 elections were not legitimate because it took place based on various practices of fraud, manipulation and violated the people's sovereignty", said GEBRAK spokesperson and Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI) Confederation General Chairperson Sunarno at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday March 31.

Sunarno said that various practices of fraud did not only occur in the realm of the political contestation that took place during voting day on February 14, but that these symptoms have been apparent long beforehand.

He also alluded to the regime of President Widodo that has enacted various regulations and policies to smooth the way for fraudulent practices and political manipulation.

This includes making revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law, the Omnibus Law on Job Creation (Cipta Kerja) and the new National Capital City (IKN) Law.

"The culmination, the regime's collusion that led to Constitutional Court ruling Number 90/PUU-XXI/2023, smoothing the way for the president's oldest son to rise to the throne of power as vice president", said Sunarno.

Various criticisms and waves of protests from the people's movement including higher education professors, said Sunarno, were simply ignored.

Sunarno added that fraud also extended into the bureaucracy both at the national as well as regional level. Throughout 2022-2023, he said, as many as 271 empty seats left by regional heads whose terms had ended were replaced by acting regional heads.

The findings of the Indonesian Ombudsman stated that there was maladministration in the appointment of acting regional heads, which was also not followed up.

"On the other hand, the Jokowi government regime also carried out various mobilisation and conditioning of the state civil apparatus, the TNI [Indonesian military] and Polri [national police], including through a bansos [social assistance] political approach funded by the APBN [state budget] ahead of the elections that had a tendency to ensure victory for the Prabowo-Gibran [presidential] candidate pair", said Sunarno.

Labor situation

According to Sunarno, Widodo, at the end of his term of office as president, has increasingly confirmed his partiality towards the oligarchy.

Some of the examples of changes that occurred during the Widodo regime are policies that support low wages and snatch away workers' welfare. Sunarno explained that this can be seen from the Jobs Law where wage policy means that workers and their families can no longer afford the basic necessities of life.

Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA) Secretary General Dewi Kartika added that the 2024 political contestation was just an event for the consolidation of the political and economic elite to perpetuate their power, instead of political change based on the people's sovereignty so that the government runs in accordance with the constitution.

Kartika believes there has been a very sharp setback in the democratic process including in the implementation of elections in Indonesia.

"The 2024 elections were the culmination of the crisis that has ensnared the people over the past decade, especially farmers, fisherpeople, indigenous people, workers, students, women and other marginal rural and urban groups" Kartika said.

Based on this situation, GEBRAK issued a number of points in a statement. Included among these are calling on all elements of the social movement to continue to be critical and resist various forms of injustice and policies that deprive the ordinary people of their rights.

GEBRAK is also pushing for the presence of a strong and quality opposition in parliament to control the implementation of government policies in the future.

"[We] urge the DPR [House of Representatives] to immediately pursue its constitutional function to investigate the various cases of alleged fraud and violations during the 2024 election process", said Sunarno  (ryn/tsa)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Buruh GEBRAK Minta DPR Selidiki Dugaan Kecurangan Pemilu".]