Happiest Family in The Country

April 15, 2024

I remember Vin Diesel was called out after his line on the latest Fast & Furious franchise about family. Dominic Toretto (his character) was driving around like a lunatic, even flying to outer space for his family. But I learned that even with his unmatched fortunes or how strong he was, Dominic Toretto never had the guts to change a constitutional norm of his country for his family’s sake. Maybe he’s not that smart or maybe he simply just doesn’t have a “Widodo” in his name.

The Indonesian Constitutional Court is a product of reformation. This was a breakthrough on Indonesian constitutional law. This institution was formed because of the resolution of reformation that states about law supremacy. Also, this institution exists to create a balance to Indonesian judicial power with the spirit of democracy which is based on meaningful participation and the empowerment of civilian’s political rights. The Constitutional Court became a catalyst to law enforcement and the state power to become more inclined to people sovereignty based on the Indonesian constitution, The 1945 Constitution of The Republic of Indonesia. Which is also why this institution is known as the guardian of the constitution.

Since 2004 Indonesia also succeeded to hold the biggest general election with direct votes in the world for 4 periods until 2019. This is also the reformation mandate to form a healthy democracy and power transition. Also, in 2014 Joko Widodo became the first Indonesian president with civil background who was elected by direct vote after 10 years led by a military background president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Then, 2023 happened. The Reformation that pushed the civil and people sovereignty agenda has died in the most ironic way possible. The Indonesian democracy index has decreased. According to KontraS report for 4 years of Joko Widodo 2nd period summarizing CIVICUS democracy index for Indonesia that has 46/100 scores for 2023 while dozens of surveys also said that Indonesia is experiencing the decline of democracy in the past 5 years. Some pro-democracy CSO’s also found that the Indonesian government tends to use the legal system to breach the constitutional norm itself to defend their authority. The government exposed the gap of regulation and forced majeure situations like Covid-19 pandemic to form a controversial law that abused the people’s rights and implicitly became more authoritative.

The implementation of the 2024 general election faced a lot of obstacles since last year. Joko Widodo’s regime raised the issue for the president period extension which is contradictory to the Article 7 of the constitutional provisions which limited the authority period of the president for the maximum of 2 periods. This happened simultaneously with Jokowi’s son and his son in law was elected to be Surakarta and Medan Major. This could simply create a big picture about the irony that was built when the constitutional provision which one of the results of reformation was violated and the nepotism which attempted to be erased by the reformation are still shown.

Compared to some of the events above, the Constitutional Court decision about age restriction for presidential candidates should be predicted. If there’s something worth seeing as a problem, the problem is the implementation of the 2024 general election as a whole. From the beginning, there’s a lot of problems since the Election Commissioner was formed in the middle of the controversy of the presidential period extension issues. Not just a legal issue, there’s also an ethic issue which accused the chairman of The Election Comissioner to be a perpetrator of sexual assault to the chairman of one of the potential participant for the election.

Then, the rest was total chaos. The election rules became uncertain when the provisions of The Election Bill were reviewed to the Constitutional Court just before the election began. The presidential threshold rule and the close selection system were some issues that have been debated.

The presidential age restriction decision only happened to be the peak of it all. The Constitutional Court’s decision is suspected to be laced with a conflict of interest. This decision was suspected to be a stimulant to the candidacy of Joko Widodo’s first son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka whose led Surakarta. He’s 35 years old which doesn’t meet the restriction to the presidential candidacy. The Constitutional Court decision became a controversy when the court was found inconsistent by the public. On the day, they decided that there were 6 similar requests. 5 of them declined because the court said it was an open legal policy, but one of them granted without changing the restriction but adding the provision that allows a person with the regional leadership experience to be elected.

The controversy became bigger because Anwar Usman, The Constitutional Court Leader known as the uncle of Gibran, also Jokowi’s brother in law. It got validated when one of the judges, Saldi Isra, found the decision was strange and he stated it in his dissenting opinion.  Anwar Usman also found  to be present at some event before the court began and bragged about the case that he handled. He was believed to breach Constitutional Court ethics after that.

This decline of democracy became clearer after Gibran was announced to be a vice-president candidate in pairs with 4 consecutive elections candidate, Prabowo Subianto. It also showed to the people how ironic the death of reformation’s resolution in the hands of its civil background leader. Nepotism and political dynasties that purposely to be erased thrive in our own land, becoming immune and hard to remove. In the end, democracy is dying quietly while Jokowi’s family smiles innocently.


Penulis: Oka Kertiyasa

Thumbnail: www.istockphoto.com

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