Sutiyoso appreciates Yusril
despite MK loss

A former Jakarta governor and chairman of the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI), Lt. Gen. (ret) Sutiyoso, said on Friday that the recent Constitutional Court ruling on the presidential threshold was regrettable, saying it denied the constitutional rights of presidential hopefuls from smaller parties.

The court ruled on Thursday to reject the petition filed by former law and human rights minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra, who is also the Crescent Star Party’s (PBB) chief patron and presidential aspirant, challenging the presidential threshold set under the 2008 Presidential Election Law.

The court stated that the requirement for political parties to win 20 percent of House of Representatives seats or 25 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election to field a pair of presidential and vice presidential candidates did not contradict the 1945 Constitution and, thus, had to be upheld.

“It was unfortunate that Yusril’s fight eventually failed,” Sutiyoso told The Jakarta Post. “I truly supported his efforts.”

Sutiyoso said that his hope to run for president, at least for this year, was dashed. “Let’s just be realistic,” he said, suggesting that his party would not surpass the threshold in the April 9 legislative election.

“Such a threshold is an obvious attempt to prevent figures like me from running. Instead, people are directed to choose candidates from larger parties but who are not necessarily capable. Parties can be small in terms of votes but they may have more capable figures for nomination,” Sutiyoso said.

He added that the ruling had prompted the PKPI to seek an alliance with other parties for July’s presidential race. With the party’s target of “only” 5 percent of the vote, it is likely that the PKPI will be a minor member in the alliance, hindering it from proposing a figure to be nominated as the coalition’s presidential or vice-presidential candidate.

“We have begun talking with other parties, including Islamic ones. But only after the legislative election can we tell you with which parties we will align ourselves with,” he said.

Yusril meanwhile, angered by the ruling, accused the court of being “scared”.

“However, it is not a problem for me. What’s important is that I have warned them, through my petition, about the constitutional problem facing the next president,” Yusril said after the hearing.

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