Jakarta – Anwar Usman, a 65-year-old widower and chief justice of the Constitutional Court, will give his fiance Idawati the ultimate gift of love for her 56th birthday on May 26: a wedding held in Surakarta, Central Java. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will be the most important guest at the happy event, being the elder brother of the bride.
For Jokowi, the remarriage of his sister is a private matter, but it may raise public concerns because as a sitting president, he could take advantage of the relationship – especially the checks and balances between the executive and judiciary powers – and probably at the expense of the nation.
So, should Anwar and Idawati's love story end for the sake of the country? The answer is no, but several measures should be taken to prevent any conflict of interest, especially on President Jokowi's part.
After losing their beloved spouses, both Anwar and Idawati have the right to find new love. Anwar's first wife Suhada died on Feb. 26, 2021, following a heart attack. Idawati's late husband, Hari Mulyono, died on Sept. 24, 2018, after suffering a stroke.
According to Idawati, she met the chief justice for the first time in October last year. She had been introduced to him by a friend, whom she refused to identify. Idawati, a housewife, said her two children Septiara Silvani Putri and Aditya Rimbo Galih Samudra supported her wish to remarry.
Their nuptials would not be a cause for concern had Idawati not been Jokowi's sibling. In one way or another, the most important duties of the Constitutional Court chief justice are directly related to the President.
The Constitution says, for example, that the Constitutional Court has the final say on impeachment motions filed by the House of Representatives against the president and or vice president. The court also hears judicial review petitions filed against laws, which are the joint products of the president and the House.
The court, too, is authorized to adjudicate conflicts between state institutions, the dissolution of a political party and disputes over election results.
In all cases the court handles, its decision is final and binding. True, the chief justice is only one of the nine justices, but his role can be decisive, especially if the bench is divided.
Anwar was elected chief justice in place of Arif Hidayat on April 2, 2018, and will hold the post until April 2, 2026, thanks to a revision of the Constitutional Court Law that extends the retirement age of Constitutional Court justices. This means Anwar will remain in office long after Jokowi finishes his second and final term in October 2024.
Anwar does not have to cancel his wedding plans or resign from his state job. However, he must be able to prove that he will not be blinded by his marriage, and his integrity will be reflected in his and the court's decisions.
Chief Justice Anwar, perhaps many people out there are suspicious of your upcoming marriage. It's time to prove the doubters are wrong.