Garuda Party Challenges Provisions on Presidential Candidates’ Age Limit

Desmihardi, the Petitioner’s legal counsel reading out the subject matter at the panel preliminary hearing of the judicial review of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections, Tuesday (5/23/2023). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The requirements for the president and vice-presidential candidates’ age limit in Article 169 letter q of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections was challenged materially in the Constitutional Court (MK) by the Change Movement Party of Indonesia (Garuda Party), represented by its central executive board chairman Ahmad Ridha Sabana and secretary-general Yohanna Murtika. At the preliminary hearing for case No. 51/PUU-XXI/2023 on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, the Petitioner, represented by legal counsels Desmihardi and M. Malik Ibrohim, argued that Article 169 letter q of the Election Law had harmed its constitutional rights. Article 169 letter q of the Election Law reads, “Requirements that must be fulfilled by a Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate are as follows: q. at least 40 (forty) years of age.

As a participant in the 2024 election, the Garuda Party intends to recruit regional head candidates under 40 years old to become vice-presidential candidates. Many of these young leaders have potential and experience in government. Similarly, many members of parliament serving in 2019-2024 are under 40 years old, such as 23-year-old Brigitta Lasut from Gerindra, 25-year-old Andrian Jopie Paruntu from Golkar.

In other countries, Desmihardi added, there have been presidents and vice presidents under 40 years old, such as 35-year-old Chile president Gabriel Boric and 38-year-old Chad president Mahamat Deby. In the U.S. Constitution, the presidential candidate should be at least 35 years old.

Therefore, the Petitioner could potentially be harmed by the enactment of Article 169 letter q of the Election Law, which set the requirements for vice-presidential candidates. Since there are many under-40 prospective candidates who can advance the nation and state and have experience in government, the article is in violation of Article 28D paragraphs (1) and (3) and Article 28I paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

“Based on this elaboration, the Petitioner requests that the Court rule the phrase ‘at least 40 (forty) years of age’ in Article 169 letter q of the Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding conditionally as long as not interpreted as ‘at least 40 (forty) years of age or have experience as a head/deputy head of region,’” Desmihardi said reading out one of the petitum before Deputy Chief Justice Saldi Isra and Constitutional Justices Wahiduddin Adams and Suhartoyo.

Justices’ Advice

In response, Constitutional Justice Wahiduddin Adams gave advice on the subject matter of the petition, which mentioned several under-40 heads of state. He requests an argument to back up the statement. He also advised the Petitioner to explain the age limit requirement more concretely.

Next, Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo highlighted the elaboration of the actual constitutional impairment. He stressed that the Petitioner must be able to explain the legal basis for the argument against the article. Meanwhile, if the constitutional right is potential, the Petitioner needs to argue in support of the candidates.

“Also strengthen the argument behind the change from 35 to 40. Please find the legislatures’ minutes showing this change. [Find out] the philosophy, the sociological aspect that support the change by the legislatures,” he said.

Lastly, Deputy Chief Justice Saldi Isra said that the statute/bylaw of the Garuda Party specifies a different chairman and secretary-general. He urged the legal counsels to ensure that the parties authorized to represent the party be representatives of the party in the case. “This petition’s argument is obscure because the article not only mentions the requirements for vice-presidential candidates but also for presidential candidates. According to logical reasoning, this article cannot differentiate between [the requirements] for [presidential and vice-presidential candidates], so this is a serious constitutionality issue,” he explained.

After offering his recommendations, Justice Saldi informed the Petitioner that it had 14 workdays to revise the petition, which must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by Monday, June 5, 2023 at 14:00 WIB.

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 17:37 WIB 639