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May 30, 2017

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Indonesia's Prabowo to challenge election result in court

Widodo, the reform-minded governor of Jakarta seen as a break from the autocratic era of dictator Suharto, was named the winner Tuesday, with results showing he resoundingly defeated his only rival Prabowo Subianto.

Before the result was announced in the world's third biggest democracy, Prabowo -- who had also claimed victory in the July 9 vote -- angrily announced he was withdrawing from the election race.

He claimed Widodo's side had tampered with the votes during the long counting process.

Members of his campaign team indicated Tuesday he would not challenge the result in the Constitutional Court, as he had been widely expected to do.

But in a surprise announcement on Wednesday, a spokesman for Prabowo -- a top general in the Suharto era who has been dogged by allegations of human rights abuses -- said he would contest the result.

"We are in the process of preparing our challenge to the Constitutional Court," said spokesman Tantowi Yahya.

Prabowo's brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo, a wealthy businessman who has provided financial backing for the campaign, added: "We are looking for justice... We are expecting some fairness."

He also urged foreign leaders not to congratulate Widodo, as "the legal process has not ended yet". US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott are among those who have already sent congratulations.

A spokesman for Widodo's team, Anies Baswedan, suggested the court may not even accept the challenge.

"The court has always been selective in accepting cases," he told AFP. "Only cases that have merit and the possibility of changing results will be welcome."

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