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The Political Way to Fight Electoral Wrongdoing

Monday, April 29, 2024

The Constitutional Court has failed to uphold justice in the face of electoral fraud. It is time to take the political route.

arsip tempo : 172127066435.

The Political Way to Fight Electoral Wrongdoing. tempo : 172127066435.

I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can’t prove anything. ~ Bart Simpson

LIKE the tales of naughty boy Bart in the television serial The Simpsons, the 2024 elections ended in denial of blatant wrongdoing. The Constitutional Court refused to cancel the result of the election won by the pair of Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

All of the evidence put forward by the Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar and Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud Md. presidential and vice-presidential candidate pairings of structured, systematic and massive electoral fraud were ignored by five constitutional justices. Three judges expressed a dissenting opinion.

Saldi Isra, Arief Hidayat and Enny Nurbaningsih expressed the opinion that there had been serious violations of the law in the election, from making use of social assistance funds for electoral interests to the lack of neutrality of regional heads and the mobilization of civil servants to bring about the victory for Prabowo and Gibran. This first ever dissenting opinion in a ruling over an electoral dispute is a sign of the lack of legitimacy of Prabowo and Gibran for the next five years.

It is difficult not to link these instances of fraud with the role of President Joko Widodo, Gibran’s father. It began with a revision of the General Election Law by the Constitutional Court to allow the candidacy of his son, who was then not old enough to run for the vice-presidency. It was Constitutional Court Chief Justice Anwar Usman, Jokowi’s brother-in-law, who persuaded the other justices to rule in favor of his nephew. Anwar was subsequently found guilty of ethical violations by the Constitutional Court’s Ethics Council.

Jokowi is also known to have been involved in influencing state institutions and officials as well as redirecting the state budget to allow him to make use of pork barrel politics by paying out huge amounts of social assistance funds during the election campaign.

The excuse often used by those defending the Constitutional Court’s ruling is that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence for their demand to be granted: a rerun of the election throughout Indonesia without candidate pairing number 02, or without vice-presidential candidate Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

According to those Constitutional Court defenders, the plaintiffs should have only asked for the election to be rerun in those areas where they were certain there was fraud. This group accuses the plaintiffs of not following up on this suggestion because Prabowo’s share of the vote was so high: 58.6 percent. Rerunning the election only in particular areas might reduce the size of proposed victory, but it would not cause him to lose the election.

But this point of view is strange. The court should not have simply calculated the effect of fraud on the share of the total vote. It should have prioritized the principle of justice based on the findings of structural, systematic, and massive fraud. The Constitutional Court has long been criticized for simply being a calculator court.

But it is too late to do anything about it now. The Constitutional Court’s ruling is final and binding. What has been wrecked by politics cannot be repaired by the law—so said the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

Now it is political measures that must be taken. Ideally, the losing parties should become the opposition at the House of Representatives. However, this is not a realistic hope. It is probable that the National Democrat (NasDem) Party and the National Awakening Party (PKB) will join Prabowo’s administration. And the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) might follow suit.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which won the legislative election, has not spoken publicly but has quietly begun communicating with Prabowo through its elite. PDI-P General Chair Megawati Sukarnoputri has no psychological barriers to communicating with the Gerindra Party general chair.

But Megawati has a problem with Jokowi, a PDI-P member who she believes betrayed her. If Prabowo wants the PDI-P to join his government, Megawati might well put forward a condition: Prabowo will have to limit—if not end altogether—any role for Jokowi in the forthcoming government. Without access to any political parties, Jokowi will finally be simply an ordinary citizen. And Gibran will be ‘locked up’ in the palace of the vice president, a position that is really no more than that of a spare tire.

Politics is not a road to perfection. But the new balance will at least punish the person responsible for the chaos: Joko “Bart Simpson” Widodo.

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