Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) met earlier today to elect a new chief justice, former deputy chief Hamdan Zoelva. Chief Justice Hamdan won an internal vote of the eight remaining justices. According to Kompas, the main challenger was Arief Hidayat, a relatively new justice. It is not clear what the final vote tally was, but it appears that there were at least two rounds to the voting. Given that there were only eight justices present, it is possible that one vote ended up in a tie.
According to Kompas, after his election, Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva gave a speech warning about the dangers of corruption and declaring the need to detect possibly corrupt activities amongst justices and court employees early.
Interestingly, Hamdan continues the tradition of Akil Mochtar, but also of Mahfud MD, of having served in the DPR and been affiliated with a political party (in Hamdan’s case, the PBB or Crescent Star Party). However, unlike his predecessors, Hamdan was chosen by the president, not by the DPR. Thus far, MK justices have not voted in clear blocs aligning with their appointing body (i.e., presidential appointees don’t all vote the same). Hamdan also has considerable experience in private sector practice. As such, it will be interesting to see if his background influences his management style as chief justice.
In other news, according to The Jakarta Globe, the MK’s internal ethics has officially discharged Akil Mochtar for violations of the judicial code of conduct.