We plan to give an update on Indonesia’s 2024 legislative and presidential elections each quarter because these elections are quite important for the future of Indonesia. As is widely known, incumbent President Joko Widodo cannot join this 2024 race because of the two-term limit, and so – after one decade in office – Indonesia will have a new president in 2024.
Having another person at the country’s steering wheel could mean a shift in direction in terms of politics, the economy, and social policies. While we do not expect to see any major shifts at this point (for example, Indonesia suddenly abandoning the energy transition) as there are big pressures originating from abroad, there is the possibility of – for example – more protectionist policies being introduced or a reduced focus on structural reforms (depending on who takes over from Widodo).
The first interesting story related to the 2024 elections that we present in this article is a controversial one. At the beginning of March 2023 there emerged quite some confusion after the judges at the Central Jakarta District Court ordered the General Elections Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum, KPU) to delay the 2024 elections until (at least) 2025. This verdict came after the Just and Prosperous People's Party (Partai Rakyat Adil Makmur, or PRIMA), which is a relatively unknown party, filed a civil lawsuit as it failed to pass the political party verification process (earlier, an administrative court had rejected PRIMA’s complaint, forcing the party to escalate matters by filing a civil suit instead). Reportedly, the political party was unable to submit all required documents electronically due to an error in the KPU’s website.
The Central Jakarta District Court’s decision to delay the elections was a true shock, and angered almost everyone. For example, Constitutional Law expert Feri Amsari said the decision should have been a civil matter because if the elections are indeed delayed, then it will simply violate the Indonesian Constitution which clearly states the two five-year terms of office for the president and vice-president. In other words, it requires amending the Constitution if elections are delayed. And so, the court has ruled beyond its jurisdiction (as the district court has no jurisdiction over election disputes). Only the Constitutional Court has authority to make decisions about the implications of the Constitution. However, this Court said it cannot review any lower court decisions, and so it cannot step in and fix the problem.
The Supreme Court of Indonesia advised the KPU to submit an appeal to the Jakarta High Court (an advice that was also supported by President Widodo). According to media reports in national media, the verdict has already been appealed. However, it will take some time before the High Court comes with a new decision. Moreover, any decision will probably be appealed to Indonesia’s Supreme Court by one of the sides involved. So, there is still a long road ahead of us.
Do we think that the 2024 elections will be postponed as a result of this case? No, but the case does create some uncertainty and heated emotions (some even raised questions about the motives of the judges at the Central Jakarta District Court; in fact the Judicial Commission has started an investigation into this as they believe there is a chance that the judges at the Central Jakarta District Court violated their Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct for Judges). But, there might still be an easy solution at hand to resolve the matter soon. This would be that the KPU allows PRIMA to run in the election. Based on reports in Indonesian media, both sides are currently indeed negotiating about the matter.
This is the introduction of the article. The full article is available in our March 2023 report. This report (an electronic report) can be ordered by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a message to +62.882.9875.1125 (including WhatsApp).
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