The Constitutional Court’s Decision Has the Potential to Cause Social Unrest, Needs to Be Mitigated
Jakarta – The decision of the Constitutional Court (MK) regarding the requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates has caused a negative response from the wider community. Mitigation steps need to be taken so that the decision does not have a further impact and cause social unrest.
As is known, on Monday, October 16 2023, the Constitutional Court decided that individuals who are or have previously served as regional heads or state officials elected through elections can be nominated as candidates for president or vice president, even if they are not yet 40 years old.
An observer of strategic and global issues, Prof. Ambassador Imron Cotan, believes that the Constitutional Court’s decision has triggered many negative reactions from the public. One example is the issuance of the Juanda Declaration which was signed by more than 200 figures, both from the spectrum supporting President Jokowi and from the anti-President Jokowi spectrum. The two groups united in condemning the MK’s decision.
“This has the potential to cause social unrest. “If that happens, we can withdraw from our efforts towards a Golden Indonesia 2045,” said Imron in the Moya Institute national webinar on Tuesday, October 17 2023.
Imron suggested several mitigation steps. First, President Jokowi should not approve of Gibran running as vice presidential candidate, as a manifestation of statesmanship. Second, Gibran expressed his unwillingness because he realized that he still needed to prepare himself more thoroughly.
“The person concerned has great potential. “So, if Gibran expresses his unwillingness because he is still a beginner, worries about the problems we are facing can be avoided,” said Imron.
The third mitigation step, according to him, was for the Advanced Indonesia Coalition (KIM) to take the decision to nominate Gibran, because the political parties that were members of the coalition were unable to reach a consensus. It is estimated that not all KIM member political party leaders agree to support Gibran.
Hendardi, Chair of the Setara Institute Management Board, said that the Constitutional Court was demonstrating a “constitutional crime”. According to him, the Constitutional Court no longer upholds the constitution, but accommodates the aspirations of political actors in its decisions.
“Instead of being a fair referee in examining cases that arise, the Constitutional Court has opened itself up to being politicized and accommodating political interests, especially those related to ruling actors,” said Hendardi.
Hendardi assessed that the Constitutional Court had reached its lowest point of integrity in the last 20 years. In fact, this is the first time that a Constitutional Court judge has expressed his disagreement openly and sharply, as shown by Saldi Isra and three other judges, who stated that there was irrationality in the Constitutional Court’s decision after the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, who is also Jokowi’s brother-in-law, was involved in the decision-making process.
“There is no need for a complicated analysis to conclude that the Constitutional Court’s decision was made for the sake of Gibran continuing in his father’s political footsteps. No president has been as active as President Jokowi in preparing his successor other than Jokowi. “This is caused not only by the lust for power, but also by Jokowi’s anxiety about the bad legacy in many sectors,” said Hendardi.
Sirajudin Abbas, Executive Director of Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), believes that the Constitutional Court’s decision has the potential to be a trap for both Gibran and President Jokowi because it promotes an anti-reform movement. What is worrying, according to him, is that Jokowi seems too open to this trap by indicating his involvement in the presidential election.
“Everyone knows, as an executive, the president cannot interfere in judicial affairs. However, everyone is also aware that the Constitutional Court currently tends to side with political participation. “The MK uses its power to support certain political groups, in this case giving Gibran the opportunity to become Prabowo’s vice presidential candidate,” said Sirajudin.
Sirajudin saw strong resistance in society. According to him, the moral movement that is currently emerging can trigger a larger social movement. “It could be that the student movement that rejects nepotism reappears like in the Reformation era. “The size of this movement is difficult to predict, but it has the potential to reduce the level of public distrust,” he said.
Prof. Abdul Mu’ti, General Secretary of PP Muhammadiyah, said that the Constitutional Court’s decision increased public apathy towards national issues. According to him, people are starting to use the term ‘sak karepmu’ to describe the political maneuvers of the current elite. “Situations like this are risky. “This sets a bad precedent for democracy, and in the long term, is detrimental for Indonesia,” he said. Mu’ti hopes that resistance will not spread further and turn into an uncontrolled movement.
Executive Director of the Moya Institute, Hery Sucipto, said that the Constitutional Court’s decision had ignored democratic values for the sake of short-term political interests. This decision has the potential to influence the public’s positive view of the integrity of the Constitutional Court and the government.