Supreme Court ruling leaves Depok mayor in legal limbo
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In what is now a common spectacle in democratic Indonesia, dozens of people staged a boisterous rally in front of the office building of Depok Mayor Nur Mahmudi Ismail on Tuesday, demanding that the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician step down as they believed his appointment as mayor was illegal.
Disputes over election results have been considered the norm ever since the nation decided to let its people elect their own mayors, regents and governors, and this protest in Depok may epitomize the many problems surrounding the regional elections.
The protest was sparked by a Supreme Court ruling that said a decree issued by the Depok General Elections Commission (KPUD) on official candidates for the 2010 Depok mayoral election was illegal and should be revoked.
The protesters said the election process had been proven to be flawed and the results should also be considered illegitimate.
“We will continue our rally until the KPUD and the central government abide by the Supreme Court ruling, which annuls Nur Mahmudi’s leadership,” said Akbar J. Husein, the spokesman of the group, known as Garda Depok.
It is uncertain whether the ruling means that Nur Mahmudi should be ousted. A copy of the ruling posted on the Supreme Court’s website does not explicitly order the KPUD to repeat the 2010 election and declare its result illegitimate.
To add to the confusion, the Constitutional Court, a state institution having an equal footing with the Supreme Court, declared the election result legitimate in 2010.
Legal experts are baffled as to why the panel of Supreme Court justices adjudicating the case came up with the ruling on March 6 and announced it on July 27, 2012.
“This is like issuing a verdict for the dead,” said Refly Harun, a constitutional law expert.
Nur Mahmudi was declared the winner of the 2010 polls, garnering 41 percent of the vote. The losing candidates challenged the decision at the Constitutional Court, which ruled in favor of the Depok mayor.
KPUD Depok member Salamun Adiningrat deplored the fact that the ruling came two years after the election, saying that the political and financial costs for an election repeat were too big. “How do we abide by this ruling when the Constitutional Court has also made another ruling?” he said, adding that his office would consult the central General Elections Commission over the issue.
The legal fiasco surrounding the Depok mayoral election began when the KPUD decided to ignore the objection from the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), which claimed that the KPUD had illegally given the party’s endorsement to Yuyun Wirasaputra and his running mate, Pradi Supriyatna.
The party claimed that it was lending its support to another pair of candidates, Badrul Kamal and Supriyanto. The decision to endorse Yuyun, the party said, was made by illegitimate leadership.
According to election law, a political party can only support one candidate. Hanura members then filed a lawsuit at the Bandung State Administrative Court to challenge the KPUD’s decision. They won the case. The KPUD then appealed the ruling but lost at the high court and the Supreme Court.
Refly said the administrative court should not have handled the case after it was brought to the Constitutional Court. “Theoretically, this is a complex issue. This ruling cannot be enforced. The dispute over the election result has been settled at the Constitutional Court.”