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Presidential candidate age limit to go retrial following court controversy

Jakarta Globe - November 7, 2023

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – The Constitutional Court will try a motion challenging its recent decision which amended the age limit of presidential and vice presidential candidates and opened the path for President Joko Widodo's eldest son to enter the upcoming election.

The announcement came on Tuesday, just hours after the court's Honor Council removed Chief Justice Anwar Usman, who is also the president's brother-in-law. Anwar was found to have committed a serious breach of ethics and good conduct as a judge in relation to the controversial ruling, which had faced criticism for alleged familial influence.

The 2017 law on general elections mandated that presidential or vice-presidential candidates must be at least 40 years old. However, the court's decision altered the relevant article to state that a candidate "must be at least 40 years old or must have served or be serving in a public position through general elections, including regional government leader elections."

The ruling accepted a motion by a previous plaintiff.

President Joko Widodo's son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is currently 36 years old. Nevertheless, he became eligible to run for the election because he had been elected as the mayor of Solo. Within days of the October 16 ruling, Gibran was announced as the running mate for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

This amendment to the article is now facing a legal challenge initiated by Brahma Aryana, a 23-year-old law student from Nahdlatul Ulama Indonesia University.

Jimly Asshiddiqie, the chairman of the Constitutional Court's Honor Council, revealed that the petitioner has the option to request the exclusion of justices who participated in the controversial ruling from the panel.

"This would mean the panel would consist of only four judges, potentially leading to a reversal of the ruling," Jimly said during a press conference in Jakarta.

With Chief Justice Anwar no longer presiding, it remains uncertain who will lead the hearing scheduled for Wednesday. However, Jimly emphasized that even if the ruling is overturned, it will not impact the current election. Any rule changes resulting from the retrial will apply to the subsequent presidential election in 2029.

"Changes in the rules of the game will take effect in 2029. The current election is already underway. I want to make this clear to avoid any confusion," he said.

His remarks were intended to underline that Gibran's candidacy for the upcoming February election remains valid.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/presidential-candidate-age-limit-to-go-retrial-following-court-controvers