Indonesia Court Ruling Clears Prabowo’s Path to Become President

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has ruled against legal challenges filed by Prabowo Subianto’s rivals, clearing his path to becoming the country’s next president.

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The court rejected petitions by presidential contenders Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo to overturn Prabowo’s victory at the Feb. 14 election in its ruling on Monday, saying they lacked a strong legal basis. The decision is final and binding, closing off any other legal avenues to challenge the election results.

The ruling removes the last hurdle for the defense minister to succeed President Joko Widodo — popularly known as Jokowi — in October, ending weeks of political uncertainty. This year’s election has been colored by controversy surrounding what’s seen as attempts by Jokowi to retain influence through backing his son Gibran Rakabuming Raka to become Prabowo’s running mate and now vice president-elect.

Anies and Ganjar had alleged fraud in the polls and sought a repeat of the election with Prabowo or Gibran, or both of them, barred from running. They also accused the government of interfering in the election campaigns to secure victory for Prabowo, who’s widely seen as Jokowi’s preferred successor. Prabowo and Jokowi’s representatives have denied the allegations.

In its judgment, the court said it saw no intervention by Jokowi in his eldest son’s appointment as vice-presidential candidate. The judges were also not convinced by the arguments presented by Anies’s legal team that Jokowi’s government had disbursed social assistance to influence the election outcome in favor of Prabowo.

The ruling will allow Prabowo to focus on his policies such as the free lunches program as well as forming alliances across political parties and putting together a cabinet before his inauguration on Oct. 20.

The police deployed nearly 8,000 personnel to secure the Constitutional Court’s premises on Monday in case protests break out following the ruling, said police spokesman Ade Ary Syam Indradi.

(Updates throughout story.)

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