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Indonesia Court: President’s alleged nepotism and election intervention deemed baseless

The Indonesian Constitutional Court rejected challenges from both losing candidates, dismissing calls for a rerun of February’s election. Allegations of nepotism and irregularities in candidate age requirements were deemed legally untenable.



Indonesia Court: President's alleged nepotism and election intervention deemed Baseless
The judges of the Indonesian Constitutional Court for the Presidential election dispute (Photo: Instagram/Mahkamah Konstitusi)

INDONESIA: The Constitutional Court has dismissed the petition challenging the outcome of the 2024 Presidential Election filed by Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md.

In its ruling, the court addressed nepotism allegations against President Joko Widodo and irregularities concerning the alteration of age requirements for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, deeming these claims legally untenable.

The court deemed these claims legally untenable.

The pronouncement of this decision took place during a hearing convened at the Constitutional Court Building on Monday (22 April).

Chief Justice Suhartoyo presided over the proceedings, which involved a panel of eight esteemed Constitutional Court judges.

Constitutional Court rejects Anies-Muhaimin’s challenge to 2024 Election results

After the announcement of Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming as the winning pair of the presidential election on 20 March, two opposing pairs, Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD, sought to challenge the results, alleging fraud.

Anies-Muhaimin filed their lawsuit the day after the election results were declared, on 21 March.

Their petition to the Constitutional Court outlined several arguments, including allegations of presidential intervention to alter candidate pair requirements, accusations of nepotism by President Joko Widodo in supporting his son’s vice presidential candidacy, claims of violations in Gibran’s eligibility as a vice presidential candidate, and the alleged misuse of social assistance to secure victory for Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming.

The Constitutional Court commenced proceedings by addressing Anies-Muhaimin’s petition at 09:00 am.

Initially acknowledging its jurisdiction to hear the petition, the court proceeded to consider various arguments presented.

However, it deemed Anies-Muhaimin’s request to disqualify Prabowo-Gibran from the 2024 presidential election legally unfounded.

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court affirmed that the General Election Commission (KPU) had adhered to regulations in response to the court’s decision altering registration requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Refuting claims of nepotism and impropriety in the court’s decision-making process, the court found no legal basis for such assertions.

Additionally, the court noted the absence of objections from any party following the appointment of Prabowo-Gibran as presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

It also dismissed allegations of improper conduct by President Joko Widodo related to Anies-Muhaimin’s petition concerning Prabowo-Gibran’s votes.

Ultimately, after deliberating on the arguments presented, the Constitutional Court rejected Anies-Muhaimin’s application in its entirety, as announced by Chief Justice Suhartoyo.

Constitutional Court rejects Ganjar-Mahfud’s challenge to 2024 Election results

Two days following Anies-Muhaimin’s lawsuit, the Ganjar-Mahfud pair lodged a dispute over election results on Saturday (23 Mar).

The arguments presented in the application submitted by Ganjar-Mahfud included allegations of election administration violations, non-neutrality of the Election Supervisory Body and the Election Organizer Honorary Council (DKPP), and abuse of power by the central government, regional government, and village government to secure victory for Prabowo-Gibran.

However, the Constitutional Court rejected the dispute over the results of the 2024 presidential election proposed by Ganjar-Mahfud, asserting its authority to hear the petition submitted by the pair.

Detailed points in the court’s decision were not immediately read out by the judges.

The court clarified that its considerations for the decision were intertwined with those made regarding Anies-Muhaimin’s lawsuit, as both cases pertained to the same event—the 2024 presidential election.

Consequently, the Constitutional Court deemed the arguments presented by Ganjar-Mahfud lacking in legal grounds and rejected their entire petition.

“Rejects the applicant’s application in its entirety,” announced Chief Justice Suhartoyo during the trial at the Constitutional Court building.

Three judges voice dissent

However, within the court’s panel, dissenting opinions emerged from three constitutional judges: Saldi Isra, Enny Nurbaningsih, and Arief Hidayat.

Judge Saldi Isra emphasized the paramount importance of ensuring elections adhere to the principles of honesty and fairness outlined in the 1945 Constitution.

He underscored the need for equal opportunities among candidates and fair competition, suggesting that procedural justice alone cannot suffice; substantive justice is equally crucial.

He cited instances of alleged bias and non-neutrality in the distribution of social assistance and the involvement of state officials during the election process.

“However, I firmly believe that regional head officials, including regional authorities, have displayed non-neutrality, consequently compromising the honesty and fairness of the election, ultimately jeopardizing its integrity.”

Similarly, Judge Enny Nurbaningsih highlighted concerns about the potential politicization of social assistance and the lack of neutrality among regional head officials.

She stressed the significance of upholding ethical standards and ensuring equal treatment for all election participants.

“In essence, ensuring that all election participants are on an equal footing is a crucial step towards realizing the principle of fairness in elections.”

On the other hand, Judge Arief Hidayat expressed apprehensions about the perceived interference of the executive branch, particularly President Joko Widodo, in favor of certain candidates.

He argued that such actions could undermine the integrity of the electoral process and lead to a democratic deficit.

“What the President appears to be doing is fostering the proliferation of dynastic politics, tainted with the virus of nepotism, posing a potential threat to democratic values in the future,” remarked Arief.

Despite the dissenting views, the Constitutional Court upheld the validity of the election results, affirming Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming as the presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2024 election, in line with the Indonesian General Election Commission’s decision.

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