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Indonesia high court upholds presidential election results

[JURIST] Indonesia's highest court, the Indonesian Constitutional Court, ruled on Thursday that results from last month's democratic presidential election naming Joko Widodo as the country's president elect will stand. The court ruled unanimously to uphold Widodo's victory by a 6 percent margin over Prabowo Subianto, who claimed widespread cheating and voter irregularities occurred in the election. Wikodo, age 53, currently serves as the governor of Jakarta, and it is believed his victory marks the beginning of a shift toward a more liberal democracy [Bloomberg report] in Indonesia. The challenger, Subianto, is an former army general with strong ties [BBC report] to the traditional political elite, and the announcement of Thursday's verdict led to mass protests [Reuters report] outside of the courthouse from his supporters. Widodo enters office at a critical time for Indonesia's economy, as the pace of foreign investment has plateaued in recent years. Foreign investors are hopeful [WSJ report] the new president will bring legal certainty to the country and develop the nation's infrastructure.

Indonesia is home to more than 238 million people that inhabit a number of islands, and it is not uncommon for elections to be challenged in Constitutional Court. The runner-up in both the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections mounted similar challenges, and there is evidence that traces of political corruption still exists in the country. In May the Constitutional Court established [JURIST report] three panels to review disputes regarding the country's April 9 legislative elections, in anticipation of accusations of electoral fraud. Last October the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission arrested [JURIST report] the chief justice of the Constitutional Court for allegedly accepting over USD $250,000 in bribes.

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