Indonesian Democracy after the Election Result
22 July 2014
Wimar Witoelar on the elections and Indonesia’s future
Australia Net TV, July 22, 2014
Auskar Surbakti: We’re hearing many different things about the Indonesian presidential election result. What are you hearing?
Wimar Witoelar: Well, everybody is hearing the same thing through live television. This is a very transparent process, there’s no mystery about it. People who are not familiar with Indonesian democracy think it is confusing . Mr Prabowo’s ethics breaks all precedents and legal rulings. He walked out from the plenary session of the electoral commission and the election count, which places serious doubt on the legality of his action. As far as the election commission is concerned, they will continue counting the votes. They have only one province left, and when that is finished they will declare the winner, which is 99.9% going to be Mr. Jokowi. Then it is left to Prabowo to raise any issue he might want with the Constitutional Court. He will face legal weaknesses as well as that in popular support. Some of his people are trying to demonstrate but the police are holding them back from the Electoral Commission building.
Auskar Surbakti: What will happen if Prabowo Subianto decides to challenge the result?
Wimar Witoelar: If the challenge is accepted by the Constitutional Court they will go in session for a certain amount of time . In all probability they will reject his motion and he will be a free man while Mr. Jokowi becomes the President and will be inaugurated in October.
Auskar Surbakti: The current President SBY has urged both candidates to accept the official result. Why do you think Mr Prabowo has a problem with Indonesia’s Election Commission?
Wimar Witoelar: He is a man not many understand. Many of his friends have left his coalition. Even Hatta Rajasa, his Vice Presidential candidate, has not been with him for two days and today he is planning a press conference ostensibly to announce that he is accepting the ruling of the Electoral Commission. But just few minutes ago he reneged. They say the press conference is cancelled because of course there are many internal considerations such as the fact that Mr Prabowo is kind to people who are corrupt. Hatta Rajasa is up to scrutiny is up for scrutiny by the Corruption Eradication Commission and would have nowhere to go if he deserts Prabowo. People without problems have already left the Prabowo camp.
Auskar Surbakti: You are a supporter of Joko Widodo. What sort of President would he make for Indonesia?
Wimar Witoelar: At least as good as your Tony Abbott. He will be somebody elected by the people. Nobody can tell the future but he will not be a person with a blemish on his record and he will not have transgressed the election law to get where he will be.
Auskar Surbakti: As you would know leaders in Australia are keeping a close watch on the elections and watching developments in Indonesia. How would the relationship between Australia and Indonesia fare under President Joko Widodo?
Wimar Witoelar: At least as well as it has fared under President SBY. It takes two parties to make a relationship. As far as Indonesia is concerned, President Jokowi will be as good as SBY in external relationships. Then we have to see from there. We cannot foresee the future, but we will avoid a President who violates the laws and in fact the good taste of the Indonesian people.
Auskar Surbakti: Are you worried about the situation in Indonesia given the uncertainty over the election results and the possibility of a court challenge?
Wimar Witoelar: So far I am not, We will see in the next few hours. So far the democracy is very strong. We have resisted an ex-general with a doubtful reputation in human rights and a very corrupt coalition. So far the good people have sided with politicians who have less problems. Ina democracy it is very good that people side with the good guys.
Auskar Surbakti: What would you like to see happen now?
Wimar Witoelar: What I would like to see is for the country to stay on course in adhering to the Constitution, the laws and the by-laws. It has been going well until now . There is turbulence caused by Mr Prabowo but we are taking it in stride. We cannot always have good contestants but we have a very strong electorate, a good democratic system and trust of the people.
Auskar Surbakti: Thank you again for your time.