Rights group finds indications of potential electoral fraud in 2024 elections

Kompas.com – November 15, 2023
Presidential candidates hold electoral numbers at KPU building in Jakarta – November 14, 2023 (Antara)

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has caught wind of various potential violations, fraud and abuse of authority in the election of presidential and vice presidential candidates on February 14, 2024.

In its critical notes launched today, Wednesday November 15, the group said that the potential for violations could occur due to various political maneuvers by the authorities to side with certain candidates.

As a consequence, it could tarnish the values and ideals of free and clean elections.

"We all know very well that there have been a number of measures or political maneuvers, even policies issued by the government that have the potential to tarnish the neutrality and impartiality in the organisation of the elections", said Kontras Deputy Coordinator Andi Muhammad Rezaldy said at the launch of the report on Wednesday.

Kontras doubts that the 2024 elections will be neutral or impartial because of the various maneuvers that have been carried out by the authorities well beforehand.

There have been at least seven moves or maneuvers by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo that show his partisanship towards certain candidates, ranging from political endorsement, admitting to meddling (cawe-cawe) in the elections to stating that that there will only be two presidential candidates who will contest in the 2024 presidential election.

Kontras also documented 12 such actions by people in Widodo's inner circle including ministers and the head of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN).

This potential for non-neutrality has also been reinforced by six things, including the appointment of the acting regional heads who are far from public accountability, the involvement of the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (national police), the mobilisation of civil servants (ASN) and the lack of neutrality by the Constitutional Court (MK).

"If we monitor this and look deeply, there are at least six things that need to be watched that could have a very serious impact on the neutrality of the organising the 2024 elections", he said.

In relation with the appointment of acting regional heads, Kontras and several other civil society institutions found that the appointment process was far from transparent or accountable.

Kontras, together with several other civil society groups have also submitted complaints with the Indonesian Ombudsman on the issue. The Indonesian Ombudsman has stated that there was maladministration in the appointment of several acting regional heads.

This lack of neutrality was also seen with the selection and appointment of the new commander of the TNI who replaced Admiral Yudo Margono.

Agus Subiyanto, the sole candidate for TNI commander who underwent a fit and proper test by the House of Representatives (DPR), was chosen very quickly having only been appointed as Army Chief of Staff (KSAD) several days earlier.

"We all know that the candidate for the commander was not too long ago appointed as KSAD, then the president asked the DPR's Commission I that he be elected as the new TNI commander. From the issue of the security forces there arose speculations, one of which is related to the Solo gang", said Rezaldy, referring to people close to Widodo when he was the mayor of Solo.

Not only that, Widodo recently stated that he had data on the political direction of the political parties. This proves the abuse of BIN for political purposes.

Likewise with the Constitutional Court's ruling on case 90/PUU-XXI/2023 related to the minimum age for presidential and vice presidential candidates, who opened the way for Widodo's eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to contest the 2024 presidential elections.

Although Widodo's brother-in-law Anwar Usman has now been removed as Constitutional Court chief justice as a consequence of the uproar over the ruling, he is still serving as a constitutional judge.

"[Because of] the MK's lack of neutrality on MK ruling number 90, we conclude that there is concern this lack of neutrality will continue when there are electoral disputes at the MK later", explained Rezaldy.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KontraS Cium Potensi Kecurangan dalam Pilpres 2024, Ini Berbagai Indikatornya".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/11/15/15014771/kontras-cium-potensi-kecurangan-dalam-pilpres-2024-ini-berbagai-indikatornya