Category Archives: Jimly

A different chief justice running for president? (Indonesia)

There’s been quite a bit of speculation regarding former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD’s presidential ambitions. However, according to The Jakarta Post, Mahfud’s predecessor, Jimly Asshiddiqie, has suggested that he might contest in the Democratic Party primary election. Jimly has not officially announced – as chairman of the Election Organizers Ethics Council (DKPP) he must remain neutral – but he has suggested that he would run if asked.

Two questions about Jimly’s candidacy spring to mind. First, is Jimly visible enough to win the primary? His reputation as chief justice was nearly impeccable, but he has not been on the court for almost 5 years. Moreover, the average Indonesian voter during his term (2003-2008) knew very little about the Constitutional Court. Second, what would Jimly’s constituencies be? Would he appeal to technocrats or progressives? Unlike Mahfud, it’s not clear Jimly has built-in support amongst Islamic groups.

Of course, it’s still early to speculate. One possibility is that Jimly uses the primary to demonstrate his electoral strength, even he does not win outright. This could lead to a vice-presidential nomination. He also has time to build his political base for the 2019 elections if need be – after all, he is only 56 years old!

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Jimly and the contractors (Indonesia)

Former Mahkamah Konstitusi Chief Justice Jimly Asshidiqie likes to cite the construction of the new Mahkamah Konstitusi building as typical of his stand against corruption. Jimly claims that he told contractors not to pay out bribes, which both reduced costs and improved the quality of construction. Having spent a good many hours in the Mahkamah Konstitusi building this past summer, particularly the library, I have to say I came away impressed with its facilities.

As such, graft suspect and former Democrat Party Treasurer M. Nazaruddin’s allegations that graft occurred during the construction of the Mahkamah Konstitusi really struck home. As reported in The Jakarta Post, Jimly struck back hard and fast:

“All stages in the construction project, from its planning to execution, had been certified as exemplary project,” Jimly said.

The article makes no mention of how much graft was allegedly involved. Still, given Nazaruddin’s history, there’s no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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