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ASEAN parliamentarians voice concern over Indonesian election integrity

ASEAN Parliamentarians express concern over Indonesia’s election integrity, citing abuse of power and potential risks to democracy and human rights amid unofficial victory claims by Prabowo Subianto.



In a statement that sheds light on the recent elections in Indonesia, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) expressed deep concerns over the potential implications for human rights and democracy in the region.

The election, which saw former general Prabowo Subianto claiming victory amid controversies, has raised eyebrows among international observers and regional parliamentarians alike.

Prabowo Subianto, a figure with a contentious past linked to human rights abuses, announced his victory in the presidential race, positioning himself as the successor to the immensely popular President Joko Widodo.

Despite the lack of official results, Subianto, buoyed by unofficial tallies showing him with a lead of 57% to 59%, celebrated what he termed “the victory of all Indonesians.”

The elections, however, have been marred by allegations of misconduct. Charles Santiago, Co-Chair of APHR and a former Malaysian MP, pointed out concerns regarding the abuse of power, including interference with the Constitutional Court and misuse of social aid for political gains.

Such actions, Santiago noted, “have seriously undermined the integrity of the vote.”

During a study visit to Indonesia, APHR delegates from Malaysia, Timor-Leste, and Thailand engaged with election bodies and civil society organizations, uncovering worries about the neutrality and independence of election supervisory agencies.

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) echoed these concerns in its interim report, highlighting issues that could affect the elections’ credibility.

Syed Ibrahim bin Syed Noh, an APHR member and Malaysian MP, stressed the importance of legislative action to bolster the independence and authority of Indonesia’s election management bodies. He underscored that democracy involves more than just casting votes, advocating for a fair and transparent electoral process.

Furthermore, local observers have reported irregularities in the voting and tabulation processes, casting shadows over the election’s legitimacy. Thailand MP Chutiphong Pipoppinyo voiced support for civil society efforts to document and address these issues, emphasizing the importance of maintaining public trust in the electoral system.

Prabowo’s victory is particularly concerning to human rights advocates due to his alleged involvement in human rights violations during Indonesia’s occupation of Timor-Leste and the late Soeharto regime.

APHR members Abel Da Silva and Lidia Norberta dos Santos Martins called for Indonesian parliamentarians to ensure checks on executive power and uphold human rights and democracy.

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