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Indonesian Election Commission faces US$4.4 billion lawsuit over President Jokowi’s son’s vice presidency registration

An Indonesian lecturer has lodged a substantial IDR 70.5 trillion (approximately US$ 4.4 billion) lawsuit against the General Election Commission for endorsing Gibran Rakabuming, President Jokowi’s son, as a vice presidential candidate for the 2024 Election.

Alleged violations include the KPU’s failure to heed a necessary People’s Representative Council hearing and constitutional age limit requirements.

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INDONESIA: The General Election Commission (KPU) found itself entangled in a legal dispute, facing a staggering IDR 70.5 trillion (approximately US$ 4.4 billion) lawsuit filed by Brian Demas Wicaksono, a lecturer, who took issue with the registration of Gibran Rakabuming as a vice presidential candidate.

Brian’s contention was rooted in the belief that the KPU had violated the law by accepting the registration of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and vice presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

According to Brian, the KPU’s chairman had failed to conduct a necessary hearing with the People’s Representative Council (DPR) before amending the General Election Commission Regulations (PKPU), a step he believed was imperative following a Constitutional Court decision concerning the age limit requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Brian contended that the KPU should have amended the PKPU in alignment with the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

However, he argued that these changes were never implemented, yet the KPU proceeded to accept the registrations of Prabowo and Gibran as presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively.

He asserted that the KPU’s actions were unlawful, as they lacked a legal basis and contravened the PKPU regulations specifying a minimum age requirement of 40 years, as per the Constitutional Court’s decision.

Brian demanded a substantial compensation of IDR 70.5 trillion (US$ 4,441,309,650) from the KPU, a figure projected to match the anticipated costs of the forthcoming 2024 elections.

Brian emphasized that this amount, though substantial, would ultimately be returned to the state.

He firmly believed that the Central Jakarta District Court would accept his lawsuit, contending that the KPU’s acceptance of the registrations of Prabowo and Gibran was legally unfounded.

Legal challenge: Brian’s lawsuit against the General Election Commission

Brian and his legal representatives pursued a legal course of action by filing a lawsuit against the General Election Commission. In this lawsuit, they articulated eight specific demands presented to the Central Jakarta District Court.

First and foremost, they sought the complete acceptance of their lawsuit.

In their second demand, they asserted that the actions of the General Election Commission (KPU) in accepting Prabowo-Gibran’s registration files were in direct violation of the law.

As their third demand, they called for a declaration that all decisions, letters, and determinations made by the KPU following the reception of Prabowo-Gibran’s registration be rendered null and void, with all ensuing legal consequences.

In their fourth demand, they requested the punitive cancellation of Prabowo-Gibran’s registration by the Indonesian KPU, with the accompanying legal ramifications.

The fifth demand centered on seeking compensation from the KPU to cover material losses amounting to IDR 70.5 trillion (US$ 4,441,309,650) and immaterial losses totalling IDR 100 (US$ 0.0063).

In the sixth demand, they urged the court to sentence the Indonesian KPU, identified as the defendant, along with the Indonesian General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) (co-defendant 1), Prabowo (co-defendant 2), and Gibran (co-defendant 3) to adhere to the court’s decision.

The seventh demand explicitly stipulated that the court’s decision should be implementable promptly, regardless of any subsequent legal procedures like verzet, appeal, cassation, opposition, and/or reconsideration.

Furthermore, in the eighth demand, they called for the Indonesian KPU to bear the financial responsibility for all court costs stemming from this case.

Concurrently, they beseeched the panel of judges presiding at the Central Jakarta District Court to issue a provisional or interlocutory decision.

Their first request in this regard sought the declaration that all decisions, letters, and determinations issued by the Indonesian KPU in connection with the Prabowo-Gibran nomination process remain in a state of stasis, devoid of legal implications until the case’s final resolution.

The second part of their provisional request implored the Indonesian KPU to temporarily suspend the Prabowo-Gibran candidacy process until the case reached a conclusive resolution, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the status quo until the legal matters were resolved indefinitely.

Chairman of the KPU’s response to the lawsuit

Chairman of the General Election Commission (KPU), Hasyim Asy’ari, found himself in a position where he could not provide extensive commentary on the legal suit filed against the commission in the Central Jakarta District Court.

The lawsuit placed a formidable demand on the Indonesian KPU, requiring them to pay an exceptional compensation of IDR 70.5 trillion (US$ 4,441,309,650).

In response to queries from reporters on Monday (30 Oct), Hasyim Asy’ari expressed his inability to offer detailed remarks, explaining, “Later, if there is a summons from the court for a trial, we will study it first. I can’t comment because I don’t know the summons, the material.”

Hasyim underlined that the Indonesian KPU had yet to receive any documentation related to the lawsuit, emphasizing the need to await an official summons, a court summons, to gain a clearer understanding of the nature and particulars of the legal action filed against the commission.

The chairman’s cautious stance underscored the need for due process and comprehensive examination of the case as it unfolded.

Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming’s candidacy: Official registration with the KPU

On 25 October 2023, the presidential-vice presidential candidate duo, Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming, officially registered their candidacy with the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) in Jakarta.

In a symbolic gesture of their intent, they submitted the requisite registration documents to the Chairman of the Indonesian KPU, Hasyim Asy’ari, within the KPU Office’s main chamber.

Notably, Prabowo and Gibran were the final presidential and vice presidential candidates to complete their registration with the KPU, following the previous submissions by the pairs Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD.

This marked the culmination of the registration period for presidential and vice presidential candidates for the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election, which had closed on the same date, 25 October 2023.

The KPU had diligently received and verified the candidacy files of all candidate pairs, confirming the completeness of the submissions.

Furthermore, a health check process for the candidates was undertaken and subsequently disclosed to the public by Hasyim Asy’ari, the Chairman of the General Election Commission, on 27 October.

This sequence of events highlighted the progress and thoroughness of the election preparation process in anticipation of the upcoming election, underscoring the significance of the registration of Prabowo and Gibran in this pivotal political event.

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