Young Heads of Regions Challenge Requirements for Vice-Presidential Candidates

The judicial review hearing of the Election Law for case No. 55/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by several young politicians, Wednesday (5/31/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ilham W.M.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The constitutionality of the requirements for presidential ticket candidates in Article 169 letter q of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections was challenged in the Constitutional Court (MK) once more. This time, the petition was filed by several heads of regions: Erman Safar (deputy mayor of Bukittinggi for 2021-2024), Pandu Kesuma Dewangsa (South Lampung vice regent for 2021-2026), Emil Elestianto Dardak (East Java vice governor for 2019-2024), Ahmad Muhdlor (Sidoarjo regent for 2021-2026), and Muhammad Albarraa (Mojokerto vice regent for 2021-2026). The preliminary hearing for case No. 55/PUU-XXI/2023 on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 was presided over by Constitutional Justices Wahiduddin Adams (chair), Arief Hidayat, and Manahan M. P. Sitompul.

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.

At the hearing, legal counsel Munathsir Mustaman explained the Petitioners’ legal standing as per Article 51 paragraph (1) of the Constitutional Court Law. The Petitioners are Indonesian citizens who are taking office as regional heads, in this case as deputy mayor, regent, vice governor, and vice regents. Mustaman explained that they had lost their constitutional right to run for vice president, which is guaranteed and protected by Article 6 paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution. They have experience as state administrators and are currently regional heads, so they argue that they have legal standing to file the petition against the a quo Law.

“Experience as state administrators should be an exception to the requirement of vice-presidential candidate’s age limit. As long as one has experience as a state administrator, even if they are under 40 years old, they should be equated to passing the minimal age limit as required,” Mustaman said at the hearing on site in the panel courtroom.

Based on those reasons, in the petitum, the Petitioners requested that the Court declare the phrase “at least 40 (forty) years of age” in 169 letter q of the Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding conditionally if not interpreted to mean “at least 40 (forty) years of age or have experience as a state administrator.”

Justices’ Advice

Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat observed the explanation of the Constitutional Court’s authority, the Petitioners’ legal standing, and the posita in his advice. He believed the Petitioners’ legal standing should be affirmed by proof of endorsement as vice-presidential candidates by a political party of a coalition thereof.

“[Do the Petitioners] suffer factual or potential loss? Since there is no evidence yet, the narrative of ‘will be endorsed’ means potential loss. There are norms that regulate the legal subject for factual [loss], where the constitutional impairment must be obvious from the enactment of this norm,” he said.

Next, Constitutional Justice Manahan M. P. Sitompul advised the Petitioners on the legal standing, which requires more explanation on the correlation between the constitutionality of the norm and the Petitioners’ rights violated by the norm.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Wahiduddin Adams observed the coherence between the petitum and the posita. The norm in question concerns the requirement for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. However, the petition mentioned the requirement for the vice president. In other words, he said, it seemed the Petitioners wished for a distinction between the ages of presidential and vice-presidential candidates. “The petitum must be modified or be made an alternative, since the age requirement for both [presidential and vice-presidential candidates] are the same, while what the Petitioners request is a different between the two,” he explained.

At the end of the hearing, Constitutional Justice Wahiduddin Adams announced that the Petitioners had 14 workdays to revise the petition and that they were to submit it by Tuesday, June 13 at 10:00 WIB to the Registrar’s Office. 

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur R.
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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | 15:09 WIB 133