Supreme Court called on to resolve ex-graft convict election candidate controversy

Marguerite Afra Sapiie

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta

Jakarta, posted: Thu, September 6, 2018 | 08:09 am

The Supreme Court building in Jakarta.(kompas.com/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Constitutional Court has called on the Supreme Court to immediately review a disputed regulation issued by the General Elections Commission (KPU) that bans former graft convicts from running in elections.

Several ex-graft convicts have challenged the KPU regulation (PKPU) at the Supreme Court, but the latter has argued it was unable to process the case as the Constitutional Court was currently handling several judicial review petitions challenging articles under the 2017 Election Law, which serves as the basis of the PKPU.

Constitutional Court spokesperson Fajar Laksono, however, said the Supreme Court should not wait for the Constitutional Court's rulings on the petitions pertaining to the Election Law as the cases currently being reviewed at the Constitutional Court were unrelated to the stipulations of the PKPU disputed at the Supreme Court.

Fajar explained that the petitions related to the Election Law filed to the Constitutional Court challenged, among other things, stipulations on the presidential threshold and vice presidential terms of office, which were not linked to the rights of ex-graft convicts to contest elections.

"There is no reason for the Supreme Court to suspend the review of the PKPU [...] The Supreme Court must immediately review [the regulation] and issue its ruling," Fajar said.

Read also: Against KPU, Bawaslu allows ex-graft convicts to run in 2019 elections

Supreme Court spokesperson Suhadi has previously cited Article 55 of the 2003 Constitutional Court Law, which stipulates that the Supreme Court must suspend the review of a regulation if the law that serves as the basis for the regulation is under review by the Constitutional Court, until the latter hands down its ruling.

Fajar, however, said that an Constitutional Court ruling related to the judicial reviews challenging Article 55 of the Election Law issued in March argued that the Supreme Court must suspend its review if the stipulations in the disputed regulation were related to the stipulations in a law that was under review by the Constitutional Court at the same time.

"Why should the Supreme Court wait for the Constitutional Court [rulings] if the stipulations are unrelated?" Fajar went on.

The PKPU No. 20/2018 has become a subject of dispute between the KPU and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), which has decided to allow 18 ex-graft convicts from 16 regions run as legislative candidates in next year’s elections.

Bawaslu maintained that the PKPU was not in line with the Election Law and that the agency wanted to refer to the Election Law, not the KPU regulation.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto has asked the Supreme Court to prioritize the review case so the KPU could finalize the final candidate list (DCT) for the 2019 legislative elections by Sept. 20 at the latest.

“The key is the Supreme Court, which will decide whether or not the PKPU is upheld or rejected,” Wiranto said. “The next step taken by Bawaslu or the KPU will be based on the court’s decision.”

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2019-elections KPU Bawaslu graft-convict Supreme-Court Constitutional-Court MK MA