It’s perhaps a bit surprising that Indonesia’s Constitutional Court hadn’t gotten involved in adjudicating the Lapindo claims earlier, but its latest decision seems to be an attempt to set the final word. According to The Jakarta Globe, the MK imposed a limit on claims against Lapindo for the 2006 mudflow in East Java. The petition asked the MK to reject a portion of the state budget allowing the Indonesian government to allocate funds to compensate victims. While critics allege that the decision lets Lapindo off the hook, the MK counters that it made clear that Lapindo is still liable for damages within a certain affected area.
Aside from the immediate impact of the opinion, what’s also interesting is the potential effect on Mahfud’s political ambitions. Golkar Chairman Aburizal Bakrie owns Lapindo. Bakrie is also running for president in 2014. Not coincidentally, Bakrie hasn’t be polling well. Is the MK’s decision a peace offering to GOLKAR in case Mahfud wants to get into the race and partner with GOLKAR? Or is it a shot against Bakrie’s candidacy?