Will the Indonesian Army step in to restore order in riot torn Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital? Can former General Prabowo Subianto, who failed to win the Presidental Election exploit this?
On May 21, 2019 the incumbent Joko Widodo (a man of non-military background) was democratically re-elected President of Indonesia.
But the losing candidate, former General Subianto, has “refused to accept the election results and [has] declared himself the winner”. This has encouraged mobs in Jakarta to riot today.
The Indonesian police have attempted to contain the riots with 6 people killed and 200 injured. Might the police be deemed inadequate to contain the situation? Might the Army be "called on" to restore order?
Since the Indonesian Army won independence against the Dutch colonialists in 1949 many in the Indonesian Army believe they are born to rule. This feeling is particularly strong amongst members of the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus). Kopassus is notorious for taking the law into its own hands. Subianto just happens to have been a Commanding General of Kopassus from December 1995 to March 1998.
Subianto just happens to have a record in 1998 of fomenting riots with the intention of using his military forces to “restore order”.
Wikipedia recalls: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prabowo_Subianto#Role_in_1998_riots_and_the_Fall_of_Suharto
"Less than three months after his appointment as head of [Army Strategic Command (Kostrad)], on the first day of the May 1998 riots, [General Prabowo Subianto] urged the commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, Wiranto, to let [General Prabowo Subianto] bring his Strategic Reserve units from outside Jakarta into the city to help restore order.
Hundreds of men trained by Kopassus (Prabowo's former command) were flown from Dili to Yogyakarta in chartered planes, and then on to Jakarta by train. [General Prabowo Subianto] publicly urged Indonesians to join him to fight "traitors to the nation".
On the morning of 14 May , Kopassus troops escorted young thugs from Lampung in southern Sumatra into the capital. Thus [General Prabowo Subianto] was accused of using his contacts in his former command to import and create trouble, while Wiranto had declined to give Prabowo's current command, Kostrad, permission to quell the existing trouble, in line with classic Javanese tactic to stir chaos to discredit a rival and/or seize power."
So now in 2019 will former General Prabowo Subianto, after failing to gain power by democratic means, associating himself with troops who “restore order”. Could he, in the long run, rule by martial law?
Ex-General Prabowo Subianto choosing to wear quasi-military dress during his 2019 Presidential Election Campaign (Photo courtesy SCMP)