According to The Jakarta Post, there is more fallout from the Akil Mochtar scandal late last year. This time, allegations have arisen that KPK Deputy Chair Bambang Widjojanto asked Akil Mochtar for help getting appointed to the KPK. Read the whole article here.
Category Archives: indonesia
Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has done it again. A few weeks ago, the Mahkamah Konstitusi announced that it would require national legislative and presidential elections to be held simultaneously. The campaigning for the 2014 elections has already begun, so the decision will not go into effect until 2019 (Indonesia’s elections take place every 5 years. However, critics, including elections lawyer Refly Harun, allege that the decision “could” have gone into effect for 2014 if the MK had released it earlier. According to The Jakarta Globe, the MK actually reached its decision last May.
At first glance, it might seem relatively innocuous – and perhaps even efficient – to hold elections concurrently. However, Indonesian presidential elections depend heavily on coalition formation because only parties that had won 20% of the DPR seats or 25% of the popular vote can nominate candidates (the MK allowed this requirement to stand). Most Indonesian political parties do not meet this requirement; after the 2009 elections, only the Democrats, GOLKAR, and PDI-P would qualify. Thus, many of the smaller parties would need to form coalitions to gain a seat in the administration, often by putting forward the vice-presidential candidates.
So the biggest remaining question seems to be how will the process of coalition formation change with the simultaneity requirement if they cannot form coalitions after having seen the DPR results? This might lead to parties forming coalitions based on previous election results and polling. Or, it could lead to parties taking greater account of ideology and policy platforms to form stronger policy-based identities before elections.
In the wake of last week’s mob attack on the Indonesian Constitutional Court (MK), some politicians are taking the opportunity to remind the court about its legitimacy problems. According to Viva News, DPR representative Eva Sundari (PDI-P) has called on all eight justices to resign:
New justices should be elected: Those who do not share the sin of Akil Mochtar for endorsing his unaccountable rulings. (translation from The Jakarta Post)
Such calls raise an important question: was Akil Mochtar simply a bad apple or a sign of deeper problems with the MK as an institution? Is there a need to start anew with a clean slate?
Yet another conveniently timed report about the Indonesian Constitutional Court. Veri Junadi, associated with the NGO Perludem, has written a book about the MK’s handling of elections disputes. The title of the report is The MK is not the Supreme Calculator, partly a critique of the fact that the MK often finds itself involved in assessing vote counts in elections cases. The book is only in Indonesian and unfortunately has not been translated, but worth checking out for students of the court.
The Centre for Democratic Institutions commissioned Prof. Simon Butt, probably the foremost Western expert on Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) jurisprudence, to assess the MK’s handling of local elections cases in this report. In particular, Butt worries that the court had not adequately defined its standard for overturning an election (a “structured, systematic, and massive” breach) and does not rigorously evaluate evidence.
This report was published in March, so long before Akil-gate, but it still provides invaluable to the MK’s elections cases and some of the problems that plagued the system even before this October. One has to wonder now how much of the MK’s fuzziness on these matters was deliberate.