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Indonesian President grants Ministers permission to pursue Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidacy in 2024 Election

President Jokowi permits ministers to run for president or vice president in the 2024 election, following a Constitutional Court ruling.

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INDONESIA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has made a significant announcement regarding the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election.

President Jokowi stated that he is granting permission to his ministers to run as presidential (capres) or vice-presidential (cawapres) candidates in the 2024 General Election (Pemilu).

This decision aligns with a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, which clarified the rules concerning the resignation of government officials when pursuing presidential candidacies.

President Jokowi emphasized that the tradition of allowing ministers to enter presidential or vice-presidential races has been in place for some time.

During a visit to the Darmaga Logistics Affairs Agency Warehouse in Bogor Regency on Monday (11 Sep), he affirmed, “It’s allowed. It has always been this way.”

Furthermore, President Jokowi provided clarification regarding ministers who do not necessarily have to resign from their positions if they decide to run for the presidency or vice presidency.

He highlighted that the decision would depend on the specific rules governing resignations.

“What are the rules? If the rules don’t require resignation, then there’s no need to resign,” President Jokowi stated.

Candidates urged to abide by campaign regulations and avoid state facilities

He further emphasized that the most critical aspect is that candidates should not use state facilities and should take leave during campaign periods, as specified by the regulations.

President Jokowi expressed confidence in the stability of Indonesia’s bureaucratic system, affirming that ministers taking leave to pursue presidential or vice-presidential candidacies would not adversely affect governance.

“Our bureaucratic system is well-established,” he said.

Currently, Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto, who is also the Chairman of the Gerindra Party, is being put forward as a potential presidential candidate by his party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), Golkar Party, and the Crescent Star Party (PBB), all of which are part of the Indonesia Forward Coalition.

In addition to Prabowo, other ministers speculated to be potential vice-presidential candidates include Erick Thohir, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises; Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy; Mahfud MD, the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security; Airlangga Hartarto, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and Chairman of the Golkar Party; and Muhadjir Effendi, the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture.

This announcement comes after the Constitutional Court‘s ruling, which clarified that ministers and officials of ministerial rank are not required to resign from their positions when nominated as presidential or vice-presidential candidates by political parties or party coalitions.

The court deemed the requirement to resign as no longer relevant.

Judge Arief Hidayat of the Constitutional Court explained that ministerial positions, including those of ministerial rank, fall under the executive branch’s jurisdiction, which includes the President and Vice President.

Therefore, for legal certainty, governmental stability, and continuity, ministers or officials of ministerial rank nominated as presidential or vice-presidential candidates must obtain approval for leave from the President.

The decision to pursue the case at the Constitutional Court was initiated by Ahmad Ridha Sabana, the Chairman of the Garuda Party, who sought clarification on the law’s ambiguity regarding whether ministers were required to resign when running for presidential or vice-presidential positions.

Commission proposes resignation requirement for Government officials seeking Presidential Candidacy

Meanwhile, the General Election Commission is currently drafting regulations related to the nomination of presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

One of the clauses in the draft regulation, Article 15(2), states that government officials nominated as presidential or vice-presidential candidates by political parties or coalitions must resign from their positions.

Certain high-ranking officials permitted to seek candidacy while maintaining Government roles

However, exceptions are made for the President, Vice President, members of the legislature, governors, regents, mayors, ministers, and officials of ministerial rank who obtain approval from the President and take leave or become non-active.

Regarding the duration of leave, the draft specifies that officials of ministerial rank can request leave from the moment they are declared as presidential or vice-presidential candidates until the conclusion of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections.

Said Abdullah, the Chairman of the Central Board of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), supported President Jokowi’s statement and emphasized the importance of adhering to the Constitutional Court’s decision. Said reiterated that ministers could run for office but must take leave.

He highlighted that the President had already declared his stance on the matter.

Said also expressed appreciation for President Jokowi’s adherence to the law, noting that ministers need not resign as there would be Acting Ministers to oversee the government during the campaign period.

Said asserted that as long as President Jokowi continued to uphold the Constitutional Court’s decision, there would be no issues with ministers leaving their posts for campaigning.

Additionally, Eddy Soeparno, the Secretary-General of the National Mandate Party (PAN), responded positively to President Jokowi’s statement, characterizing it as a sign of the President’s wisdom regarding his ministers. Soeparno stressed that ministers should follow up on this decision by delivering outstanding performance and not disappoint the President.

He also believed that ministers aspiring to run for the 2024 presidential election would need to make a wise decision, as being a presidential or vice-presidential candidate requires a full commitment.

On the other hand, Habib Aboe, the Secretary-General of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), welcomed the President’s decision to allow ministers to run for the presidency without resigning. He emphasized that the public was weary of continuous changes in rules and regulations.

Aboe stated that any method of choice was acceptable and that the Indonesian people needed leaders who could focus on improving their welfare rather than endless political debates.

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