Prabowo`s electability unaffected by human rights issue

Prabowo`s electability unaffected by human rights issue

Prabowo Subianto. (ANTARA)

Human rights issue is cannot reduce Prabowo`s electability..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Political observer from Pelita Harapan University (UPH) Emrus Sihombing has opined that human rights issue will not affect the electability of Prabowo Subianto, the presidential hopeful from Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) party.

"Human rights issue is cannot reduce Prabowos electability because it is only the choice of the elite community," Emrus explained here on Thursday.

According to him, the issue will probably only influence 20 percent of voters from elite community, while 80 percent of the rest in rural areas will be unaffected.

Emrus pointed out that the human rights issue has been circulated only at the level of educated people and did not reach all community members.

Further, he added that there are still a lot of politically illiterate people in rural areas and therefore, they will not be affected by the human rights issue.

Therefore, he clarified that Gerindra should embrace the lower class of society in the partys programs.

Earlier, the New York Times pointed out that Prabowos presidential candidacy has raised deep concerns among rights activists in Indonesia and abroad.

According to the New York Times, the rights activists noted that Indonesias human rights commission recommended that Prabowo be prosecuted in the alleged abduction of pro-democracy activists in the late 1990s, during the final months of the military-backed government of President Suharto.

It added that Prabowo's attempt to become Indonesias second directly elected president has also put the Obama administration in a difficult position.

Prabowo, who graduated from American military training programs in the 1980s, is an admirer of the United States, and has, for years, made it clear that he would like to meet with high-level American officials.

For the moment, Prabowo has been polling behind Joko Widodo, the popular governor of Jakarta who has made his name as a squeaky-clean leader who tackles popular issues like education and Jakartas chronic traffic.

But the presidential election is still months away ... and the charismatic Prabowo, 62, has many ardent supporters at the grass-roots level, as well as among powerful businessmen and retired military commanders.

The New York Times pointed out that allegations against Prabowo extend back to his early career, when he was a young officer in the 1980s in East Timor, where an armed movement was fighting Indonesian occupation.

Some human rights groups called for an investigation over allegations that he ordered the massacre of nearly 300 civilians, but Prabowo has vehemently denied being on the scene of the massacre or having any involvement in it.