The Jakarta Post
The Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that a rule in the 2008 Presidential Election Law requiring political parties to win 20 percent of seats or 25 percent of the popular vote in the legislative election to field a presidential candidate would be upheld, thus dashing the hopes of plaintiff Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a presidential aspirant from the minor Crescent Star Party (PBB).
In rejecting Yusril's legal challenge to nix the threshold, the court referred to its January ruling in which it decided the legislative and presidential elections would be held simultaneously, but starting in 2019.
The threshold can only apply if the elections are held on different dates, a scenario the Court in it's January ruling said must occur this year as it was too late in the game to change the electoral schedule without causing chaos.
'The essence of the plaintiff's argument was weighed by the court [in the January ruling], although it was not given explicitly,' Justice Harjono said on Thursday, reading out the ruling. 'Therefore, the previous ruling applies [here].'
In January, in a judicial review filed by political communication expert Effendi Ghazali and the Coalition of Civil Society for Simultaneous Elections-Indonesia, the court ruled it was unconstitutional to hold the legislative and presidential elections on different dates.
'[The decision] to impose simultaneous elections in 2019 and in future elections [but not in 2014] is not solely based on the consideration of technical readiness during the election preparations by the General Elections Commission [KPU], as laid out in the plaintiff's argument,' Harjono added.
In reading out the ruling, he went on to say that the threshold rule would not be scrapped from the law, as it would become irrelevant when the state began holding the elections simultaneously.
One justice, Maria Farida Indrati, gave a dissenting opinion to the ruling, saying that holding separate elections was only a legal and technical matter, not one of constitutionality.
Meanwhile, Yusril criticized the ruling, saying the 'court is scared'.
The window of opportunity to run in the presidential election has now became smaller, he added.
'However, it is not a problem for me. What's important is that I have warned them, through my petition, about the constitutional problem faced by the next president,' he said after the hearing.
In his petition, Yusril argued that presidential candidates should be nominated by a political party or coalition of parties before the April 9 legislative election.
He demanded the court throw out the presidential threshold rule and impose its ruling on simultaneous elections this year, instead of starting in 2019.
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