Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – Paramadina University political observer and executive director of the Institute for Democracy and Governance Studies (CDGS), Ahmad Khoirul Umam, says that the People's Justice and Prosperity Party (Prima) is just a small pawn in a larger plot to postpone the 2024 elections.
Prima was the plaintiff in lawsuit 757/Pdt.G/2022 that was heard by the Central Jakarta District Court. In its ruling on the case on March 2, the court ordered the General Elections Commission (KPU) to postpone the election process.
"In this context, the Prima Party was apparently just a 'small pawn' that was setup to launch the larger agenda of postponing the elections that up until now has been orchestrated by narratives and movements", said Umam in a press release on Friday March 3.
According to Umam, the shallow arguments in the court's ruling also show that the operation to postpone the elections is still underway.
Umam believes that judicial channels were used as a way to do this after the national political situation failed to side with the discourse about postponing the 2024 elections.
"The modus operandi is becoming clear, when the debate and national political configuration failed to side with the agenda of interests in postponing the elections, then the easiest and most effective means was to take advantage of law enforcement channels", said Umam.
According to Umam, under the guise of an independent judiciary, those who want to postpone the elections can force the political actors and democracy to comply with their interests.
He said that this effort is reflected in a variety of narratives that have emerged, ranging from extending President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's term in office, three terms in office for the president and extending village head's term in office, through to changing the open proportional election system to a closed one.
"All of this is being orchestrated in such a way as to give the appearance of uncertainty about preparations towards the upcoming 2024 elections", said Umam.
In its ruling of lawsuit 757/Pdt.G/2022 that was submitted by the Prima Party on December 9, 2022, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered the KPU to postpone the 2024 elections.
"[The court] orders the defendant not to implement the remaining stages of the 2024 general elections as of this ruling being read out and re-implement the stages of the general elections from the beginning for approximately 2 (two) years 4 (four) months 7 (seven) days", read the ruling read out by the panel of judges on Thursday.
The Prima Party reported the KPU because that they felt they had been treated unfairly during the registration and verification of political parties wanting to take part in the 2024 elections.
During the administrative verification state, Prima was declared not to have fulfilled the membership requirements so it was ineligible to go on to the factual verification stage.
Prima however felt that it had already met the membership requirements and believes the KPU's Political Party Information System (Sipol) was in error and was the root cause of their failure in the administrative verification stage.
Central Jakarta District Court public relations officer Zulkifli Atjo meanwhile has asked the public to study the court's ruling in more detail.
According to Atjo, the panel of judges' ruling on the Prima lawsuit does not postpone the elections but orders the KPU not to continue with the remaining stages of the election process that is currently underway.
"I don't interpret it like that (postponing the elections), no. Colleagues can interpret it so if they wish, but the language of the ruling is, yeah, postponing the [remaining] stages [of the election]", said Atjo on Thursday.
"So if colleagues are interpreting it as postponing the elections, I don't know. The instruction in the ruling is not to implement the remaining stages of the elections", he said.
The Prima Party is the political vehicle of the People's Democratic Party (PRD).
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pengamat: Partai Prima Hanya Pion Kecil untuk Agenda Besar Penundaan Pemilu".]