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Indonesian police fire tear gas at poll protesters

Indonesia Election Protests.jpg

Aug. 21, 2014: A riot police officer prepares to fire his tear gas launcher during a clash with supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto near the Constitutional Court in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP)

Supporters of losing Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto clashed with police Thursday as the country's top judges began reading a verdict on his petition to overturn the election results.

Subianto, a former general with close links to the country's former dictator Suharto, has alleged massive fraud in the July 9 polls and filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court, the country's highest.

Police and legal experts said the court is highly unlikely to rule in Subianto's favor given the nature of evidence he has presented at the court so far and the number of votes he would have to have overturned to ensure victory. The verdict cannot be appealed.

Upholding the results would remove any lingering uncertainty over the victory of Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, leaving him free to prepare to take over government in the world's fourth most populous nation and a vital Southeast Asian economic hob. He is due to be inaugurated in October.

Subianto has vowed to challenge the results, but has struggled to attract much street support in the country of 240 million people.

Around 2,000 supporters rallied in Jakarta ahead of the verdict and tried to get close to the court, which is near the presidential palace. Police fired tear gas and water cannons as a smaller number of demonstrators tried to tear down barbed wire barricades blocking their way. There were no reports of serious injuries.

The election commission has declared Widodo the winner with 53 percent of the votes -- a margin of more than 8 million votes over Subianto.

Widodo, more widely known by his nickname Jokowi, was a political unknown until a few years ago. Unlike prior Indonesian leaders and Prabowo, he is from a humble background, something that contributed to his popularity at the polls.

Subianto leads a coalition of political parties that control a majority of seats in the parliament, meaning that Widodo might have trouble pushing his agenda.