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Indonesia’s election commission chairman violated ethics in Gibran’s VP candidacy

DKPP finds Indonesia’s Election Commission Chairman guilty over Gibran’s VP candidacy ethics violation. Sanctions imposed, including a stern warning. Controversy surrounds the processing of registration without adjusting age requirements.

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Chairman of the General Election Commission (KPU), Hasyim Asyari, guilty of violating the code of ethics
(from left: Prabowo Subianto, Hasyim Asyari, Gibran Rakabuming Raka)

INDONESIA: The Honorary Council for Election Organizers (DKPP) found the Chairman of the General Election Commission (KPU), Hasyim Asy’ari, guilty of violating the code of ethics by accepting Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s registration as a candidate for vice president in 2024.

Six other members were also found guilty.

On Monday (5 Feb), the DKPP imposed a final stern warning sanction on Hasyim Asy’ari for violating the code of ethics.

This violation occurred as he processed Gibran’s registration without adjusting to the minimum age requirements for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as per KPU Regulation Number 19 of 2023 and Constitutional Court decision.

During the trial decision reading in Jakarta, DKPP Chairman Heddy Lugito stated, “Hasyim Asy’ari, as defendant number one, was proven to have violated the code of ethics and behavioral guidelines for election organizers.”

Additionally, DKPP imposed strong warning sanctions on six KPU Commissioners: August Mellaz, Betty Epsilon Idroos, Mochamad Afifuddin, Yulianto Sudrajat, Parsadaan Harahap, and Idham Holik.

Following the DKPP decision, DKPP Member I Dewa Kade Wiarsa Raka Sandi emphasized that the KPU should promptly consult with the People’s Representative Council (DPR) and the government in accordance with Constitutional Court decision on 16 October 2023.

This consultation is essential for the immediate revision of KPU Regulation Number 19 of 2023 due to the Constitutional Court’s decision.

Wiarsa highlighted the delay in the KPU’s request for consultations with the DPR and the government after the Constitutional Court decision.

The defendants argued that they submitted the letter on 23 October 2023, during the DPR recess.

However, DKPP refuted these excuses, stating that hearings can be held during the recess, as specified in DPR Regulation Number 1 of 2020 concerning Rules of Procedure.

Moreover, DKPP pointed out that the KPU commissioners’ initial communication with political party leaders after the Constitutional Court’s decision, rather than consulting with the DPR and the government, deviated from KPU regulations.

Wiarsa stated, “The defendants’ compliance with the a quo Constitutional Court decision by writing first to the leadership of the political party is an inappropriate action and is not in accordance with the orders of Article 10 of KPU Regulation Number 1 of 2022 concerning Procedures for Forming Regulations and Decisions within the KPU.”

In response to the need to regulate the stages for the 2024 presidential and vice-presidential candidacy following the Constitutional Court decision, Wiarsa emphasized that the contestants should be responsive.

There were a total of four complaints against all Indonesian KPU commissioners regarding the ethics of Gibran’s candidacy, filed by Demas Brian Wicaksono, Iman Munandar B, P.H. Hariyanto, and Rumondang Damanik.

The KPU received Gibran’s candidacy registration documents on 25 October 2023, although, based on KPU Regulation Number 19 of 2023, Gibran did not initially meet the requirements as he was not yet 40 years old.

The KPU argued that Constitutional Court decision justified processing the nomination of the 36-year-old Mayor of Solo.

However, the KPU eventually revised regulation Number 19 of 2023, changing the requirements for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, only signing the revision on 3 November 2023.

DKPP’s ethical decision on KPU violations leaves Gibran’s vice-presidential candidacy unaffected

The ethical violations identified in the KPU’s process, specifically in Gibran Rakabuming’s candidacy, will not impact his status as the vice-presidential candidate.

DKPP Chairman Heddy Lugito clarified that the DKPP’s decision is solely ethical and unrelated to the nomination or candidacy aspects.

Further support for this stance came from the General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu).

According to Bawaslu Chairman Rahmat Bagja, the DKPP’s decision exclusively affects the election organizers, namely the KPU, without any implications for Gibran’s candidacy.

Bagja emphasized that the DKPP’s decision pertains to the individuals responsible for organizing the election, stressing that it should not influence institutional decisions.

He highlighted the blame falling on the organizers or the KPU, urging a nuanced interpretation of the situation.

Additionally, Bagja mentioned Bawaslu’s commitment to overseeing the DKPP’s decision concerning the KPU’s ranks.

In response, the KPU plans to issue a letter of warning to the reported party, aligning with the DKPP decision.

The controversy surrounding Gibran Rakabuming Raka’s candidacy as vice-president for Prabowo Subianto has been fueled by allegations of President Joko Widodo’s attempt to establish a political dynasty.

Gibran’s eligibility hinged on the Constitutional Court’s decision to amend the age requirement for presidential and vice-presidential candidates in October, allowing him, as an elected official under 40 years old, to be nominated.

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