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Indonesia's losing candidates urge court to disqualify president-elect

JAKARTA — Indonesia's losing presidential candidates laid out their court challenge on Wednesday (March 27) to last month's election, accusing the state of interference and urging a poll re-run and disqualification of the winner, Prabowo Subianto.

Former governors Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo said the resounding victory of Defence Minister Prabowo was helped by pressure on regional officials from a partisan administration and President Joko Widodo, with social aid used as a tool to ensure just one outcome.

Anies said the election showed the world's third-largest democracy was at risk of sliding back towards its authoritarian past, and warned it could set a bad precedent.

"This practise will be perceived as normal, a habit," he told the Constitutional Court.

The outgoing administration of Jokowi, as the president is widely known, has rejected accusations of election interference.

Prabowo received nearly 60 per cent of the votes, helped by the tacit backing of hugely popular former rival Jokowi.

He promised to maintain his predecessor's agenda of refurbishing infrastructure, adding jobs and developing downstream industries to better exploit Indonesia's vast mineral resources.

Anies received a quarter of the vote and the third-placed Ganjar Pranowo took 16 per cent.

Call for neutrality

Challenges to election outcomes are typical in Indonesia and the court is expected to hand down its decision on April 22.

Anies' team urged the court to disqualify Prabowo from the ballot, as a beneficiary of unfair practises, asking it to order Jokowi to keep neutral in any re-run of the election, and not use the state apparatus or budget to help one candidate.

Jokowi's conflicts of interest violated a constitutional provision for fair