Friday, April 19, 2024

Constitutional Court begins hearing of 2024 election lawsuits

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Gusty da Costa

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The Constitutional Court began on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, the hearings of the lawsuits filed by presdential-vice presidential candidates pair number 1 Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Islandar and pair number 3 Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD.

In the first session, the National Legal Team (THN) of Anies-Muhaimin alleged the use of social assistance (Bansos) for the electoral interests of presidential-vice presidential candidates pair number 2, Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka. 

The Anies-Muhaimin legal team said in their legal statement read before the Court session that the social assistance program of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was a form of vote-buying practices.

“It is evident that the President’s policy to use the state budget for Bansos was in order to ‘buy votes’ for the electoral interests of candidates pair Number 2, the vice presidential candidate of which is his son,” the Anies-Muhaimin teams of lawyer said while reading their statement as reported by Kompas.com.

The team alleged that the Bansos program also involves government structures from the top to the bottom level. They also alleged the involvement of President Jokowi, who symbolically distributed social assistance during visits to the regions. 

Likewise, at the ministerial level, social assistance, which should only involve the Ministry of Social Affairs, is used for covert campaigns by other ministries under the supervision of figures in the coalition of supporting parties of the Prabowo-Gibran pair.

“Some ministers, such as Airlangga Hartarto (Chairman of the Golkar Party and Coordinating Minister for the Economy), and Zulkifli Hasan (Minister of Trade and Chairman of PAN), distributed social assistance directly to the public while inviting them to thank Joko Widodo and vote for Gibran openly,” the Anies-Muhaimin legal  team said. 

The team also cited the involvement of village heads and their apparatus in the aid distribution, along with alleged invitations and intimidation for them to vote for Prabowo-Gibran.

In addition, it also alleged to have announced the extension of the social assistance program until June 2024, which coincides with the schedule for the second round of the 2024 presidential election.

“This policy shows Jokowi’s intention to use Social Aid as an instrument to buy election votes in the second round later for the benefit of Candidate Number 2,” the team said

The lawsuit by the Anies-Muhaimin pair is targeting for the Constitutional Court to disqualify the Prabowo-Gibran pair and seeking a re-run election without their’s participation.

Favoring with pair number 2 

Meanwhile, the legal team of presidential-vice presidential candidates pair number 3 Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD accuses President Joko Widodo of having organized the 2024 General Election in such a way so as to favor the Prabowo-Gibran pair. 

“The 2024 presidential election is not an election in the true sense, because it has been designed in such a way by President Joko Widodo to win candidate pair number 2 in one round of election,” read the lawsuit filed by the Ganjar-Mahfud legal team as reported by Kompas.com. 

The team also alleged that President Jokowi’s political maneuvers of having ensured the continuation of his power. They said that the maneuvers were reflected in the desire to increase the presidential term limit to three periods and to postpone the 2024 presidential election schedule. 

“The failure to enforce those options, has then led President Joko Widodo to maneuver and name his eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka to pair up with Prabowo Subianto as contestant in the 2024 presidential election,” the lawsuit said.

The team further accuses President Jokowi of attempting to smooth Gibran’s participation in the presidential election, by changing the existing rules of the game. 

Furthermore, the Ganjar-Mahfud legal team said Jokowi’s move continued by instructing his brother-in-law, then Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman, to interfere with the Court trial that heard and ruled in favor of a petition that sought a new age limitation for presidential and vice presidential candidates. The Court ruling has paved the way for Gibran’s participation in the election. 

At the end, Anwar Usman was declared to have violated serious ethics and was removed from his position as the Court’s Chief Justice but the Court’s ruling was retained.

The hearing will continue on Thursday, with the Court having decided to merge the initially two separate hearing sessions into one.

Gusty da Costa

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

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