Perludem, Gerindra’s Differing Views on Age Requirement for Presidential Tickets

Chief Justice Anwar Usman opening a material judicial review hearing of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections on the age limit of presidential tickets, Tuesday (8/8/2023). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) and Gerindra (the Great Movement) Party have different views on the age requirement for presidential tickets as set forth in Article 169 letter q of Law No. 7 of 2017 on General Elections. The first believes that the three material judicial review petitions on the age limit of 40 years for presidential-vice presidential candidates are not a matter of the constitutionality of the norm. Meanwhile, the latter supports the Petitioners’ assertion that the article has not accommodated the young generation.

The statement was made by Kahfi Adlan Hafiz of Perludem and Raka Gani Pissani of Gerindra as Relevant Parties at the hearing, which took place on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at the Constitutional Court (MK). This fourth 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.

Not a Matter of Constitutionality

Kahfi Adlan Hafiz of Perludem rejected the Petitioners’ claim that the age limit in Article 169 letter q of the Election Law is discriminatory. He said it has in fact indicated that ageism—which the World Health Organization (WHO) defines as the stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination towards others or oneself based on age—exist. However, in the petition, the Petitioners explain that experts see that certain age is indication of ideal leadership, and focus more on the development of strengths, commitment to community development, and anti-corrupt leadership. The Petitioners, he said, also set 35 years as the minimum age limit for presidential tickets.

“Under the same logic, setting the age limit at 40 years and reducing it to 35 years are both a form of ageism. Therefore, the issue that the Petitioners [object to] is not discrimination based on age but which age is the ideal for presidential tickers. In this petition, there is no obvious issue of age-related discrimination, so there is no constitutionality issue in the a quo petition,” Kahfi argued before the hearing chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Usman.

He also argued that it is an open legal policy and mentioned the Constitutional Court’s stance on age requirements for public officials in Decisions No. 15/PUU-V/2007, No. 37/PUU-VIII/2010, and No. 49/PUU-IX/2011.

“In Constitutional Court Decision No. 15/PUU-V/2007 on the judicial review of Law No. 32 of 2004 on the Regional Government against the 1945 Constitution, the Court held that the 1945 Constitution did not prescribe a general minimum requirement for government activities, meaning that it left the age limits to the legislature. It considers the age limit the legislature’s legal policy,” he explained.

Kahfi further explained that the Petitioners’ argument could directly, indirectly, or at least potentially affect the legal framework of elections, especially the request to lower the age limit for presidential tickets so close to the election.

“The House’s expertise agency and Commission II had drafted the election bill, but it was cancelled and withdrawn from the priority prolegnas [(national legislative program)]. As a result, the norm that applies for the election is Law No, 7 of 2017. It is unfortunate that amid the 2024 Election stages, there is an implicit intention to change many things, starting from the electoral system, and now the age requirement for presidential tickets, which will lead to uncertain framework of electoral laws,” he said.

Accommodating Youth

Meanwhile, Raka Gani Pissani said Gerindra supports the Petitioners’ argument and wishes that the constitutional justices grant their petition. Observing the political situation in Indonesia, the party sees a significant increase of turnout among the youth. That is why, he argued, youth’s participation is imperative to keep up with the times and it is important that they be prepared to succeed those in government.

“One of the ways is by accommodating them to become presidential or vice-presidential candidates in an election,” he said on-site from the plenary courtroom.

He added that experience as state administrators should be an exception requirement for presidential tickets, irrespective of the 40-year age limit. He said this would be more beneficial to public interest and accommodate public aspiration.

Also read: 

Young Heads of Regions Challenge Requirements for Vice-Presidential Candidates

Garuda Party Challenges Provisions on Presidential Candidates’ Age Limit

Garuda Party Requests Youth and Experience Be Made Presidential Candidate Requirements 

Heads of Regions Revise Petition on Age Requirement for Presidential Tickets 

House Leaves Presidential Ticket Requirements to Constitutional Court 

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.

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.” 

Meanwhile, the petition No. 51/PUU-XXI/2023 was filed by the Change Movement Party of Indonesia (Garuda Party), represented by its central executive board chairman Ahmad Ridha Sabana and secretary-general Yohanna Murtika, 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. 

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.

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        : 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, August 08, 2023 | 15:44 WIB 241