|Prabowo during the 2011 South East Asian Games|
|Born||Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo
17 October 1951
|Political party||Great Indonesia Movement Party (Partai Gerindra)|
|Alma mater||Indonesia Military Academy|
Prabowo Subianto (born 17 October 1951) is an Indonesian businessman, politician and former Lieutenant General in the Indonesian National Armed Forces. In the Indonesian presidential election, 2009 he ran for the vice-presidency as part of Megawati Sukarnoputri's campaign for president. He ran for president in the Indonesian presidential election, 2014 but was defeated by Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo in a close finish, which he disputed.
Prabowo is the son of Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, an Indonesian economist, and Dora Sigar. He is also the former husband of Siti Hediati "Titiek" Suharto, the late President Suharto's second daughter.
Prabowo's grandfather, Margono Djojohadikusumo, was the founder of Bank Negara Indonesia, the first leader of Indonesia's Provisional Advisory Council (Dewan Pertimbangan Agung Sementara), and Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia).
Prabowo's father, Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, was an economist who served as former President Suharto's minister for the economy and minister for research and technology. Sumitro named Prabowo after his own younger brother, a martyr hero who died in a battle against the Dutch in Yogyakarta during the Indonesian National Revolution. Prabowo has two older sisters, Bintianingsih and Mayrani Ekowati, and one younger brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo. Hashim's pribumi conglomerate business interests stretch from Indonesia to Canada and Russia. Between 1966 and 1968, the family lived in London, where Prabowo attended and graduated from The American School in London. Sumitro subsequently encouraged his son to attend military academy. One of Prabowo's role models was Turkish military figure Ataturk, and according to peers and observers, Prabowo was talented with a passion for stratagems and had an appetite for political power.
Prabowo married Suharto's daughter, Siti Hediati Hariyadi, in 1983. They have a son, Didiet Prabowo, who lived in Boston before settling in Paris to pursue a career in design.
In 1976, Prabowo served in the Indonesian National Army Special Force Kopassus and was assigned as the commander of Group 1 Komando Pasukan Sandhi Yudha (Kopassandha), which was one of the Indonesian Army's Nanggala commando units in East Timor, the former Portuguese territory that Indonesia had invaded the previous year. Prabowo, then 26 years old, was the youngest Nanggala commander. Prabowo led the mission to capture the vice president of Fretilin, who was the first Prime Minister of East Timor, Nicolau dos Reis Lobato. Guiding Prabowo was Antonio Lobato – Nicolau's younger brother. On 31 December 1978, Prabowo's company found and fatally shot Nicolau in the stomach as he was being escorted in Maubisse, fifty kilometres south of Dili.
In 1985 Prabowo attended the Advanced Infantry Officers Course at Fort Benning, in the United States for commando training. In the early 1990s, as the commander of Kopassus Group 3, the now Major General Prabowo attempted to crush the East Timorese independence movement by using irregular troops (hooded "ninja" gangs dressed in black and operating at night) and, in main towns and villages, militias trained and directed by Kopassus commanders. Human rights abuses rose. The Army's 1997 campaign was called Operation Eradicate.
In 1996, Prabowo led the Mapenduma Operation in the mountainous terrain of Papua, Indonesia. The goal of the operation was the release of 11 scientific researchers, who had been taken hostage by the Free Papua Movement. The researchers were five Indonesians, four Britons, one Dutchman and his pregnant German wife. Two of the Indonesian male hostages were killed shortly before the rescue operation. The mission involved covert support from British Military Attache and SAS veteran Colonel Ivor Helberg. The operation was criticised for using the Red Cross emblem on a white helicopter to deceive the Papuan rebels. When the helicopter landed at Geselema, innocent villagers who had nothing to do with the kidnapping ran towards it, thinking it was their friends from the Red Cross. Instead, white gunmen and Indonesian soldiers jumped out and shot them dead. The Free Papua Movement had been in peaceful negotiations to release the hostages until this massacre sparked violence in which the two Indonesian hostages were killed.
Role in 1998 riots and the Fall of Suharto
As the effect of the East Asian financial crisis began to worsen for Indonesians, and social disorder and open resentment of Suharto's administration increased, Prabowo publicly urged Indonesian Muslims to join him to fight "traitors to the nation". In a private conversation with Sofyan Wanandi, Prabowo said he was willing "to drive all the Chinese out of the country even if that sets the economy back twenty or thirty years." and "You Chinese Catholics are trying to topple Suharto". To which Sofyan replied "Only Muslims or the Army are strong enough to do that. It's ridiculous to think that groups as small as Chinese or Christians could do it." However, a few days later, Mr. Wanandi denied that he ever made such a statement.
Less than three months after his appointment as head of Kostrad, on the first day of the May 1998 riots, Prabowo urged the commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, Wiranto, to let him 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. Prabowo 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 Prabowo 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.
Troops under Prabowo's command kidnapped and tortured at least nine democracy activists in the months before the May 1998 Riots. In one testimony, a former detainee told of being tortured for days in an unidentified location, allegedly a military camp where most of their time was spent blindfolded, while being forced to answer repeated questions, mainly concerning their political activities. Abuse included being punched, terrorized physically and mentally, and given electric shocks. Later, in 2009, two of the nine men were candidates for Gerinda, Prabowo's political party, and another served as his media adviser. Prabowo was also suspected of organizing the 1997–98 activists kidnappings in Indonesia of another 13 activists (who all remain "missing") between February 1997 and May 1998.
Later investigations into the May riots revealed that violence in Jakarta was the result of an internal struggle within the military elite to become Suharto's successor. Many believed Prabowo, as Strategic Reserve commander, sought to become his father-in-law's successor and coveted the Commander of the Armed Forces position held by General Wiranto, who was favored to succeed Suharto. Together with Operations Commander for Greater Jakarta (Panglima Komando Operasi Jakarta Raya, Pangkoops Jaya) Major General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Prabowo aimed to terrorize opponents of the government and to show that Wiranto was "an incompetent commander who could not control disorder". During the months of August and September, the fact finding team interviewed Prabowo, Sjafrie, and other military commanders regarding their movements during the Jakarta riots. Prabowo asserted that he was unsure of the precise movements of military forces in the capital and deferred to Sjafrie. In its final report, the fact finding team suspected that, on the night of 14 May, Prabowo met with several Armed Forces and prominent civilian figures at the Kostrad headquarters to discuss organization of the violence. However, this was later refuted by several people who attended the meeting, including prominent human rights lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution and Joint Fact Finding Team member Bambang Widjojanto. Further testimonies by Prabowo in the years following the investigation contradicted the team's report and led to skepticism of the team's allegations.
On 21 May 1998, Suharto announced his resignation from the Presidency and Vice President BJ Habibie took over as President.
On the afternoon following Habibie's inauguration as President, Lt Gen Prabowo demanded of Habibie that he be put in charge of the army in place of Wiranto. However, Habibie and Wiranto demoted Prabowo from Kostrad commander instead, and the following day announced Wiranto's promotion to Minister of Defence and Security and to TNI commander. A furious Prabowo went to the Presidential Palace packing a side arm and with trucks of his Kostrad troops. On being blocked from entering the Habibie's office, he instead went to Suharto who rebuked him. Prabowo was visited by Wiranto at his home over the weekend of 23–24 May and subsequently reassigned to a non-combat role at the Armed Forces Command and General Staff College in Bandung.
Following the TNI investigation, Prabowo acknowledged responsibility for the kidnapping of the activists. He was discharged from military service in August. He and Wiranto denied that the discharge was a result of disciplinary action. In August 1998, the Dewan Kehormatan Perwira (Officers Council of Honor) tried, and found Prabowo guilty of "misinterpreting orders" in the kidnapping of anti-Suharto activists in 1998. He was discharged from military services, and went into a voluntary exile in Jordan where he knew that country's new young King Abdullah as a fellow commander of special forces. In an interview for Asia Now in 2000, Prabowo said "I never threatened Habibie. I was not behind the riots. That is a great lie. I never betrayed Pak Harto. I never betrayed Habibie. I never betrayed my country...There was a certain group that wanted to make me a scapegoat, maybe to hide their involvement."" Rights groups have long questioned Prabowo's eligibility to run for president, noting that he was discharged dishonourably from the Army in August 1998 for "misinterpreting orders" in the abduction of the democracy activists. While that was the military's official statement, observers have long believed that it was a coup conspiracy that saw Prabowo, then the commander of the Army Strategic Reserves, given his marching orders.
As a 2014 presidential candidate, Prabowo's past came under renewed scrutiny, with many organisations calling for him to step down. A coalition, which consisted of Imparsial, Kontras, the Setara Institute, and the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), combined under the Civil Society Coalition Against Forgetting, visited the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Jakarta on 7 May 2014 to urge the commission to re-investigate Prabowo. A June 27, 2014 report indicated that an investigative journalist, Allan Nairn, had been threatened with arrest "for revealing the former general’s role in human rights abuses."
After leaving the military, Prabowo joined his brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo's business. He purchased Kiani Kertas, a paper pulp and plantation company based in Mangkajang, East Kalimantan. Prior to Prabowo's purchase, Kiani was owned by Bob Hasan, a businessman close to former Presiden Suharto. Today, Prabowo's Nusantara Group controls 27 companies in Indonesia and abroad. Prabowo's companies includes Nusantara Energy (oil and natural gas, coal), Tidar Kerinci Agung (palm oil plantations) and Jaladri Nusantara (fishery industry).
Prabowo rebranded Kiani Kertas to Kertas Nusantara, and is part of the Nusantara Energy. The company established in 1990 has an area of 3,400 hectares used for paper mills, employee housing, private schools, and various company facilities. Kiani has been awarded ISO 900-2005 as one of the highest quality management company. It is reported that Kiani Kertas has been experiencing financial difficulties and in early 2014, workers took to the streets to demand their wages which had not been paid in five months.
Prabowo was the wealthiest presidential candidate in the 2009 election, with ownership of Rp 1.5 trillion (about US$150 million) and US$7.5 million.
In 2007, PT Ridlatama whose majority stakeholder was British-based Churchill PLC conducted a geo-survey in East Kalimantan area for coal. Two months after the survey yielded positive result, East Kutai officials granted mining licenses to Nusantara Energy (subsidiary of Nusantara Group, conglomerate owned by Prabowo Subianto's family) to operate in the area surveyed by Ridlatama. In 2010, Ridlatama's license was revoked, effectively completing Nusantara's take over of Churchill's operation. Churchill appealed to the Supreme Court of Indonesia but lost the case. In 2012, Churchill filed a case against the government of Indonesia in International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, demanding $2 billions of compensation. Indonesia argued that ICSID had no authority to arbitrate. In 2014 ICSID ruled that it has the authority and the case is still on going.
In 2014, the regent of East Kutai, Isran Noor, publicly endorsed Prabowo Subianto as presidential candidate. He also considers pressing a criminal charge against Churchill, alleging that Churchill forged its license.
- The Indonesian Farmers' Association was established in 1973 to advocate for the farmers' rights. Prabowo was elected President of HKTI in 2004, and he was reappointed in 2010 for a second term.
- The Indonesian Traditional Market Traders Association (APPSI) is a non-profit organisation advocating for the welfare of traders in Indonesia's traditional markets. Prabowo was elected as president of APPSI in 2008.
- Pencak silat is one of Indonesia's traditional martial arts. The Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI) oversees the regulation of the sport in Indonesia, develops athletes, and organises tournaments. Prabowo was elected as president of IPSI in 2004 and was re-elected in 2012 for a third consecutive term.
Using Prabowo's connections to President Suharto, he and his brother worked to silence journalistic and political critics in the 1990s. Hashim unsuccessfully pressured Goenawan Mohamad to sell his outspoken and banned Tempo magazine to him. As lieutenant colonel, Prabowo invited Gus Dur to his battalion headquarters in 1992 and warned him to stick to religion and to stay out of politics, or face unspecified actions if he continued to oppose the President. He later warned the intellectual Nurcholish Madjid (Cak Nur) to resign from the KIPP, the election monitoring unit set up by Goenawan Mohamad, which armed forces commander Feisal Tanjung had denounced as "obviously unconstitutional".
In 2004, Prabowo was one of five contenders vying to become Golkar party's presidential candidate. He received the lowest number of votes, just 39, and was eliminated in the first round. The second round of voting was won by Wiranto. In early 2008, Prabowo's inner circle, including Fadli Zon, established the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), which nominated Prabowo for presidency in the 2009 elections. However, having won 26 out of 560 seats in the Indonesian parliament, the party did not have the required numbers and Prabowo ran as vice presidential candidate to Megawati Soekarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno. The pair, referred to colloquially by the Indonesian media as Mega–Pro, earned 27% of the vote and lost to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his running mate, economist Boediono.
In November 2011, Prabowo announced his intentions run in the 2014 presidential elections. Surveys published by the Center for Policy Studies and Strategic Development (Puskaptis) and by the Indonesian Survey Institute published on 23 February 2012 gave him the lead - but observers and activists cast doubt on the polls.
In March 2012, the Great Indonesia Movement Party named Prabowo their 2014 presidential candidate. As of then, the party's slogan was changed to Gerindra Menang Prabowo Presiden (Gerindra Wins, Prabowo Becomes President) Prabowo said he would run an investment-friendly administration if he won and that Indonesia needed more energy exploration; furthermore, he said he had been in close contact with labor unions and believed rising worker discontent could be managed with a wise national budget. He promised to use military-style efficiency to push through chronically delayed infrastructure projects, as well as to create jobs in the archipelago's backwaters by improving agricultural productivity. Another pillar to Prabowo's platform was that he was solidly secular, and his party planned to protect the rights of minority religious groups in the Muslim-majority country.
According to numerous quick counts after the April 9 legislative election, Gerinda came in third place, positioning Prabowo as one of two main presidential candidates for the election to be held July 9, the other being Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo. On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Golkar, along with the United Development Party (PPP), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and the Crescent Star Party (PBB), officially endorsed Prabowo Subianto to run for the 2014 presidential election; the coalition collected 48.9 percent of votes and 52.1 seats in the parliament. The day before, Prabowo had picked former Coordinating Minister for Economics Hatta Rajasa as his vice-presidential running mate.
On 22 July 2014, the day that the KPU was due to announce its official tally, Prabowo withdrew from the race after having insisted on his victory since the initial quick counts were released, although the majority showed Jokowi ahead. He attributed this withdrawal to Indonesia "fail[ing] in its duty to democracy" because of "massive cheating that is structured and systematic", and stated that he and Hatta "exercise our constitutional right to reject the presidential election and declare it unconstitutional". His speech, aired live, implied that he would challenge the results in the Constitutional Court. Later reports indicated confusion over whether Prabowo had resigned from the election or simply rejected the count.
According to Douglas Ramage of the Jakarta-based Bower's Asia Group, this was the first time since reformasi began in 1998 that the legitimacy of the election process has been questioned; he declared that the country was entering "uncharted territory". The legality of a Prabowo challenge is questionable, as – if he withdrew – he is no longer considered a presidential candidate. If he can make the challenge, according to The Jakarta Post, the gap between the two is sufficient to make such a challenge difficult. Under the presidential election law, Prabowo could face up to six years in prison and a 100 billion rupiah ($10 million) fine for withdrawing. Later that evening, Joko Widodo was officially announced as president and began to receive congratulations from world leaders.
Following the announcement, the value of the Indonesian rupiah dropped by 0.3 percent, and the JSX Composite fell by 0.9 percent. Observers denied Prabowo's allegations of cheating, finding that the elections were "generally fair and free"; Maswadi Rauf of the University of Indonesia stated that there were "no sign of significant fraud", and that Prabowo's withdrawal simply reflected "the real attitudes of the elite, who are not yet ready to accept losing". On 21 August 2014, the Indonesian Constitutional Court rejected his claim of fraud, confirming his election loss.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prabowo Subianto.|
- Asiaweek: An Idealist's Rise And Fall
- ABC Foreign Correspondent: The Farmer Wants a Country
- Jakarta Globe: Rebranding Brings Prabowo Into the Electoral Frame
- Military Politics and Democratization in Indonesia (Routledge Research on Southeast Asia)