House Leaves Presidential Ticket Requirements to Constitutional Court

A material judicial review hearing of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections to hear the House and the President’s testimonies, Tuesday (8/1/2023). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — Vice Chair of the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III Habiburokhman conveyed the House’s statement at the judicial review hearing of Article 169 letter q of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at the Constitutional Court (MK). The hearing was held for three cases: No. 29/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) and several individual petitioners, No. 51/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by the Change Movement Party of Indonesia (Garuda Party), No. 55/PUU-XXI/2023 filed by several heads of regions under 40 years of age.

Habiburokhman said that data by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) indicated that Indonesia would have a demographic bonus in 2020-2030, where the number of population in productive age is two times that in the non-productive age. This bonus is expected to prepare for and contribute to the national development and become the nation’s leaders, including the presidential tickets.

“Meanwhile, when comparing the ages of world state leaders, 45 countries demand a minimum age of 35, including the U.S., Russia, India, and Portugal; while 38 demand a minimum age of 40. Therefore, on the judicial review of the article petitioned by the Petitioners of this case, the House leaves it to the Court to consider and adjudicate it,” Habiburokhman said.

No Minimum Age Limit

The President/Government also delivered their testimony, represented by Togap Simangunsong, ministerial advisor for Society and Interagency Relations for the Ministry of Home Affairs. He said that in order to elect president and vice president who have integrity, there are certain requirements, in which the House and the Government exercises their discretions based on Article 6 paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

He further explained that, following Article 28D paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution, all citizens have equal right to participate in government according to their abilities. The Court, he added, held in Decision No. 15/PUU-V/2007 that there are many government positions and activities, so the provisions on those are different.

Meanwhile, the 1945 Constitution does not expressly specify the minimum age limit for state leaders or officials, so it is relegated to the legislature. As such, such provisions could change following the state’s needs.

“So, the minimum age limits [of state leaders and officials] are not specified in the 1945 Constitution. Such limits in government in the article being petitioned is an open legal policy of the legislature. In government, we must refer to the 1945 Constitution and Pancasila as the legal sources, including in facing the dynamics of the presidential ticket age limit, because it is adaptive and flexible following the government needs,” said Simangunsong, who attended the hearing on site in the plenary courtroom.

Also read:

PSI Requests Presidential Tickets Be at Least 35 Years Old

PSI Strengthens Argument of Minimum Age for Presidential Tickets 

The case No. 29/PUU-XXI/2023 was filed by the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), Anthony Winza Probowo, Danik Eka Rahmaningtyas, Dedek Prayudi, and Mikhail Gorbachev (Petitioners I-V). They challenge Article 169 letter q of the Election Law reads, “Requirements that must be fulfilled by a Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate are as follows: at least 40 (forty) years of age.”

At the preliminary hearing on Monday, April 3, through Francine Widjojo, the Petitioners asserted that the Petitioners were currently thirty-five years old and requested that the lowest age limit for presidential tickets be set at thirty-five with the assumptions that they had enough experience to run in the election. They argued that the norm was discriminatory and against moral and rational values and in violation of Article 28D paragraph (3) of the 1945 Constitution.

“While in principle, the state provides the nation’s youth with the opportunity to lead the nation and offers the widest opportunity so that the best candidates of the nation can run in the election. Therefore, the object of the petition is a discriminatory provision since it violates moral [values]. When the Indonesian people are forced to only choose leaders that meet a discriminatory requirement, this leads to injustice for the Indonesian people and the selected [candidates],” Widjojo said before Constitutional Justices Saldi Isra, Arief Hidayat, and Manahan M. P. Sitompul.

Therefore, the Petitioners requested that the Court grant the entire petition and declare Article 169 letter q of the Election Law unconstitutional and not legally binding if not interpreted as “at least 35 (thirty-five) years of age.” 

Also read:

Garuda Party Challenges Provisions on Presidential Candidates’ Age Limit

Garuda Party Requests Youth and Experience Be Made Presidential Candidate Requirements 

The petition No. 51/PUU-XXI/2023 was filed by the Change Movement Party of Indonesia (Garuda Party), who also questions the requirements for the president and vice-presidential candidates’ age limit in Article 169 letter q of the Election Law.

At the preliminary hearing, the Garuda Party revealed its intention as a participant in the 2024 election 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, the Party 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. 

Also read: 

Young Heads of Regions Challenge Requirements for Vice-Presidential Candidates

Heads of Regions Revise Petition on Age Requirement for Presidential Tickets 

The case No. 55/PUU-XXI/2023 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 young petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the age requirement for presidential ticket candidates in Article 169 letter q of the Election Law.

At the preliminary hearing on Wednesday, May 31, legal counsel Munathsir Mustaman explained the Petitioners 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.

Based on those reasons, the Petitioners requested in the petitum 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.” 

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        :
Nur R.
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, August 01, 2023 | 16:09 WIB 231
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