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Constitutional judge decide not to summon President Jokowi

Tempo - April 6, 2024

Amelia Rahima Sari, Sultan Abdurahman and Adinda Jasmine Prasetyo, Jakarta – Constitutional Judge Arief Hidayat stated that the panel adjudicating the dispute over the results of the general elections (PHPU) did not summon President Joko Widodo or Jokowi because he is both the head of state and head of government.

According to Arief, it is not appropriate to summon Jokowi to the trial because the President is a symbol of the state that must be respected.

"Because the President is both the head of state and head of government. If he were merely the head of government, he would be brought to this trial. But because the President is the head of state, a symbol of the state that must be respected by all stakeholders," Arief said at the Constitutional Court Building, Jakarta, as quoted by tempo.co, on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Thus, he said, the Constitutional Court decided to summon the President's aides, namely four ministers of the Indonesia Maju Cabinet relevant to the arguments of the Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md camps.

They are Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, and Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini.

"So we summon his assistants and these assistants are related to the petitioner's arguments," he said.

Arief admitted that he had scrutinized the President's actions during today's presidential election dispute hearing. "What received widespread attention and was then argued by the petitioner, is the actions of this head of state," he said.

"The actions of this head of state, the Court also actually asked, 'should we summon the Head of State? The President of the Republic of Indonesia?' It seems that this is not appropriate," said Arief Hidayat.

Previously, several parties requested the PHPU judges to summon President Jokowi to the trial to hear his testimony. The following are those who wanted Jokowi to be present at the trial:

1. Todung Mulya Lubis

Chair of the Ganjar-Mahfud Legal Team, Todung Mulya Lubis, at the Constitutional Court Building, Jakarta, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, said it would be ideal if President Joko Widodo or Jokowi attended the presidential election dispute hearing at the Constitutional Court or MK.

"Because indeed the responsibility for managing this country, the responsibility for managing social assistance funds ultimately leads to the president," he said.

According to Todung, there are indeed the Finance Minister, Social Affairs Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture who were summoned. But, he said, the main responsibility lies with the president.

"Therefore, in my opinion, if the president can be present, it is already very good, very ideal, and will answer all the questions that are in the public's mind," said Todung.

2. Feri Amsari

Constitutional law expert Feri Amsari said the Constitutional Court (MK) could summon Jokowi to testify in the presidential election dispute trial. According to Feri, the MK could summon Jokowi to respond to allegations that his government was not neutral in the presidential election.

Feri conveyed that President Jokowi is one of the legal subjects accused of involvement in alleged fraud in the 2024 presidential election. He said this had also been discussed during the trial process.

Therefore, Feri said the MK has the right to summon the President to testify as one of the accused parties. "So of course, he (the President) is allowed to be summoned by judges or by parties, whether in court or through other processes," said Feri when met in Kalibata, South Jakarta, on Friday, March 29, 2024.

According to Feri, it is important to do this so that allegations of the government's lack of neutrality can be clearly answered. Feri also stated that this opportunity could be used by President Jokowi to defend himself and prove that he was not involved in the alleged fraud.

3. Civil Society Coalition

The Civil Society Coalition for Democracy and Anti-Corruption urged the Court to summon President Jokowi to the presidential election dispute trial.

Through an open letter sent on Thursday, April 4, 2024, the civil society coalition assessed that President Jokowi played a role in influencing the course of the General Elections. This includes being involved in the nomination of his eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, as the vice presidential candidate from Prabowo Subianto.

"We consider it important and urge the Constitutional Court to immediately summon and request President Jokowi's testimony in the MK trial," said a representative of the civil society coalition, Usman Hamid, when met at the Constitutional Court Building, Central Jakarta, on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

According to Usman, President Jokowi also needs to provide clarification regarding indications of the politicization of social assistance or Bansos by the President and his ministers, which were used as a campaign tool by the second pair, Prabowo-Gibran.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1853911/constitutional-judge-decide-not-to-summon-president-jokow