Petitioners Want Conflict-Prone Direct Election Replaced by Appointment by MPR

A preliminary hearing on the judicial review of the 1945 Constitution, Thursday (9/14/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ilham W.M.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — Muhammad Yusuf Mansur and Muhammad Fauzan petition the annulment of Articles 6 and 6A of the 1945 Constitution UUD 1945 to the Constitutional Court (MK). They petitioned for the return to Article 6 prior to the amendment, which used to read, “(2) The President and Vice President shall be elected by the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) by a majority vote.” Their argument was that a direct presidential election is prone to disputes and damages national unity. They alleged those two articles had violated their constitutional rights.

Muhammad Yusuf Mansyur conveyed the case No. 101/PUU/XXI/2023 on site without any legal counsel at a preliminary hearing on Thursday, September 14, 2023. Constitutional Justices Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh, Manahan M.P. Sitompul, and Enny Nurbaningsih presided over the hearing in the plenary courtroom.

Article 6 reads, “(1) A Presidential candidate and a Vice Presidential candidate has to be an Indonesian citizen from birth, who has never received another nationality of his own volition, who has never betrayed the country, and who is mentally and physically capable of carrying out his duties as President or Vice President; (2) The requirements to become President and Vice President are further stipulated by virtue of law.”

Meanwhile, Article 6A reads, “(1) The President and the Vice President shall be elected as a pair by the people directly; (2) Each pair for President and Vice President shall be proposed prior to general elections by a political party or by a coalition of political parties contesting the general elections; (3) The pair of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates that receive more than fifty percent of the vote from the total of votes in the general election with at least twenty percent of the vote in more than half of the total number of provinces in Indonesia, shall be installed as President and Vice President; (4) In the event that no pair for Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates is elected, the two pairs of candidates who have received the first and second highest number of votes in the general election shall be submitted to direct election by the people and the pair that gets most of the votes shall be installed as President and Vice President; (5) The procedure to organize the election for President and Vice President shall be further stipulated by virtue of law.”

In the petition, the Petitioners argued that the amended articles have resulted in the shift in the general elections from representation through a majority vote in the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) to direct elections. However, direct presidential, legislative, and local elections have flaws, such as the risk of violence between election contestants and high expense of election. Furthermore, they asserted, the amendment had disregarded the fourth precept of Pancasila, which stipulates that leadership be decided by consensus.

“Deliberation, consensus, and representation do not exist. We see a lot of division and threats to national unity. These amended articles do not reflect Pancasila. Direct elections have had numerous negative consequences in the last two decades. We rely on economic turnover, and because of today’s political uncertainty, we want this article be restored to its pre-amendment state,” said Yusuf.

Therefore, in their petitum, the Petitioners requested that the Court annul the amendment to Articles 6 and 6A of the 1945 Constitution and amended Articles 6 and 6A for violating the fourth precept of Pancasila. They asked the constitutional justices to overturn the derivatives of both articles in the electoral laws on the presidential and local elections. “We request that the Court restore the election of the president and vice president as well as regional heads to the MPR,” Yusuf stressed.

Justices’ Advice

Justice Manahan advised the Petitioners to consult the Constitutional Court Regulation on judicial review to prepare the petition. He also said that the Court does not have the jurisdiction over the judicial review of 1945 Constitution against the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution, thus is unable to judge the petition.

“What is reviewed is the 1945 Constitution against the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution. The Court does not have the authority to do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Justice Enny emphasized that the Court conducts judicial review of laws against the 1945 Constitution. She also emphasized that Pancasila is enshrined in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution, which the Petitioners argued were not reflected in the articles being petitioned.

“As a result, the norms in it have implied that. What should be done is to reviewing a law against the 1945 Constitution. After the petitioner understand this, [understand] that the Court petition is systematic and clear with the 1945 Constitution as touchstone,” she said.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh said it is more appropriate for the Petitioners to file their concerns in this petition to the MPR. “The Petitioners’ concerns are more appropriate to be filed to the MPR. The spirit for wanting change is very good, but it is not in line with the Constitutional Court’s authority,” he said.

At the end of the hearing, Justice Foekh informed the Petitioners that they had 14 workdays to revise the petition and they were to submit it by Wednesday, September 27 at 09:00 WIB to the Registrar’s Office.

Author       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Fitri Yuliana
Translator  : Nyi Mas Laras Nur Inten Kemalasari/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.

Thursday, September 14, 2023 | 13:58 WIB 77