After Mahfud’s departure, the Mahkamah Konstitusi selected Akil Mochtar as the new chief justice. According to The Jakarta Post, Mochtar won 7 votes compared to two for Harjono. Mochtar was a former GOLKAR DPR member, which continues the trend of having politicians serve as chief justice (Mahfud was a PKB member).
However, Mochtar’s election also brings new questions. In 2010, then-Justice Mochtar was also accused of bribery in a district elections case from North Sumatra. While the MK eventually cleared him of all charges, will the ensuing stigma affect the MK’s reputation?
Thus far, the MK has has acquired a reputation for integrity – not inconsiderable given the extent of corruption in Indonesia’s government. Former chief justices Jimly and Mahfud both had clean reputations and no scandals, which helped the court weather attacks from the DPR and president when the justices issued controversial rulings. Will Mochtar have enough clout to act as a champion for the MK? All we know for sure is that the MK is undergoing an important transition.