Former Army officer behind Prima lawsuit ending in court ruling to delay elections

CNN Indonesia – March 3, 2023
Prima members and sympathisers rally at KPU offices in Makassar – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – A senior former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) officer is included in the list of People's Justice and Prosperity Party (Prima) executive members, the party that won a lawsuit in the Central Jakarta District Court with a ruling ordering a postponement of the 2024 elections.

The former elite BIN officer is R. Gautama Wiranegara. He is the chairperson of the Prima Party's Advisory Board. Wiranegara claims to have joined Prima since the party was declared on June 1, 2021.

"Yeah, I joined since the declaration, so Prima is extraordinary, right", said Wiranegara at Prima's Central Leadership Board (DPP) office in Central Jakarta on Friday March 3.

Wiranegara's last position with BIN was as BIN Deputy Director III for Counter-Separatism. Since become a TNI (Indonesian military) officer, he has been deeply involved in the field of intelligence.

In 2000, post-reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998 – Wiranegara became active in the Army's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS). In 2010 he became active as head of BIN's Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD, Aceh) regional post (Kaposwil).

He was then assigned to the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) for three years between 2015 and 2018. Wiranegara retired in 2018 with a final rank of TNI Major-General.

Wiranegara claims to have come into contact with the Prima Party leadership in 2004 when it was still the People's Democratic Party (PRD). Although he was still active in the military, he claims to have been sympathetic to Prima because it was a party that defended the lower classes of society.

"Before that perhaps, maybe. But officially in 2004. AT that time I was still active [in the military]. And it wasn't just casual. Meaning what, not just a statement. I have my official letter (of assignment from BAIS)", said Wiranegara.

Wiranegara was actively involved in the Prima Party's lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court right from the start. In a party, he said, all cadre are under one command.

He said that his party's decision to submit the lawsuit with the Central Jakarta District Court and to ask that the election process be postponed was taken after agreement by all senior members. They asked that the organisation of the election be sorted out first.

Wiranegara claims that he knows about fraudulent practices in the organisation of the elections. "We know that several of the parties that passed [the verification process to take part in the 2024 elections] didn't actually pass. Those that passed were asked to be passed", he said.

The Central Jakarta District Court panel of judges found in favour of the Prima Party's lawsuit against the General Elections Commission (KPU). In their ruling, the court asked the KPU to postpone implementing the remaining stages of the 2024 elections until July 2025.

The Prima Party's lawsuit was submitted on December 8, 2022 and registered as case Number 757/Pdt.G/2022/PN Jkt.Pst. The ruling against the KPU was handed down on Thursday March 2.

Prima submitted the lawsuit because they objected to a KPU decision declaring that the party had failed to meet the requirements to be a participant in the 2024 elections.

"[The court] orders the defendant [the KPU] 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. (thr/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mantan Elite BIN Petinggi Partai Prima di Balik Gugatan Tunda Pemilu".]