Indonesia Supreme Court Approves Age Rule Change for Candidates

Indonesia Supreme Court Approves Age Rule Change for Candidates

Indonesia‘s Supreme Court has approved changes to the regulations regarding the age of candidates in regional elections, the court announced on Thursday. This decision comes amidst speculation that the president’s 29-year-old son is considering running in the upcoming Jakarta elections.

The petition, filed last month, requested that candidates be allowed to be 30 years old at the time of inauguration, rather than at the date when the election commission confirms their candidacy.

Suharto, a spokesperson for the court, confirmed that the changes, proposed by the Garuda Party, an obscure group aligned with the ruling coalition, had been approved. “It is so that Indonesia can be led by youngsters,” said Teddy Gusnady, a Garuda spokesperson.

The ruling comes as President Joko Widodo’s youngest son, Kaesang Pangarep, 29, has been suggested as a potential candidate for deputy governor of Jakarta in the elections scheduled for November. Kaesang, known for his fried banana business and recent appointment as head of Indonesia’s Solidarity Party (PSI), will turn 30 in December.

Mock election posters featuring Budisatrio Djiwandono, the nephew of president-elect Prabowo Subianto, alongside Kaesang, have been circulating on social media. Prabowo’s Gerindra party and PSI officials did not immediately respond to questions about Kaesang’s candidacy, but the posters were shared on Gerindra’s official Instagram page and by a top Gerindra official on Wednesday.

The court‘s decision follows concerns about dynastic politics in Indonesia and attempts to undermine the integrity of the country’s top courts. In February, former military commander Prabowo won the presidential election in a landslide with his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of the president. Gibran’s candidacy was made possible by controversial changes to election law, also proposed by the Garuda Party.

However, legal experts argue that for Kaesang to run as deputy governor of Jakarta, changes would have to be made not only to the election regulations but also to regional election law. “Since the age requirement is regulated in the regional election law, if there’s any appeal, it should be filed to the Constitutional Court, not the Supreme Court,” said legal expert Titi Anggraini. “So, Kaesang should not be able to register in the 2024 regional election,” she concluded.

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