Senior Gerindra politician proposes Prabowo voters boycott gov’t, stop paying taxes to protest alleged election fraud

Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto with supporters. Photo: @indonesiaadilmakmur / Instagram
Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto with supporters. Photo: @indonesiaadilmakmur / Instagram

A senior politician from the Gerindra party — which is chaired by presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto — has proposed quite an extreme method of protesting against the government over their allegations of election fraud, though it’s one that may not catch on even within his ranks.

Arief Poyuono, the deputy chairman of Gerindra, caused quite a stir in the world of Indonesian politics when he issued a press release yesterday denouncing the outcome of the election, which has all but officially been confirmed to be a re-election victory for President Joko Widodo over Prabowo.

“The people who voted for Prabowo-Sandi no longer need to recognize the 2019 presidential election. In other words, if the result of the 2019 presidential election continues to be used as the basis for forming a new government, then the people don’t have to recognize that government,” Arief said, as picked up by Detik.

“Among the steps that the people who don’t recognize the government that resulted from the 2019 presidential election can take is to stop paying taxes to said government.”

Arief went on to say that Gerindra and their allies should not form the opposition in parliament for the 2019-2024 period as a way to further delegitimize the government (it should be noted that Gerindra is projected to come second only to President Jokowi’s PDI-P in the legislative election, so good luck convincing lawmakers not to take seats in parliament they spent so much money and effort to win).

“What’s certain is that even other countries won’t recognize the government that is formed from the 2019 presidential election. This is important for an honest, clean and fair democratic system that we can maintain,” he said.

As confident in his words as Arief may have seemed, his calls may go unheeded even by those in his own party. Other senior Gerindra politicians were quick to say that Arief’s statement was his personal opinion and not the official position of the party.

And despite the glaring flaws in logic in Arief’s calls for a tax boycott (for one, how could anyone determine with absolute certainty who voted for which presidential candidate?), at least he’s consistent in denouncing the outcome of the election as a whole, unlike other Gerindra politicians who say they reject the presidential election outcome but still want to see Gerindra and opposition lawmakers take their seats in parliament.

Nevertheless, President Jokowi’s camp has heavily criticized Arief’s statement, saying that it may constitute treason or, at the very least, have been made with the sole intention of provoking chaos in the lead up to the official announcement of the election results on May 22 by the KPU.

“I see that Prabowo-Sandi supporters are becoming increasingly panicked and crazy, and they’re ending up ramming this and ramming that. This is happening because they’re not ready to lose, whereas defeat is a normal part of democracy,” Raja Juli Antoni, deputy secretary of Jokowi’s campaign, told Detik.

Based on quick count results and the ongoing real count tabulation of votes, President Jokowi has all but officially secured his reelection victory over challenger Prabowo. As of this morning, Jokowi leads Prabowo 56.19% to 43.81%, based on the 84% of all votes that have already been tallied by the KPU.

Members of Prabowo’s campaign and his supporters have claimed that Jokowi’s impending victory is the result of widespread and systemic election fraud. Prabowo’s allies within the opposition have also stoked fears of rioting to protest the outcome of the election, particularly his senior adviser Amien Rais, who popularized the term “people power” to refer to grassroots streets protests that will supposedly erupt against the government for their alleged election fraud against Prabowo.

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