Political observer doubts elections will be fair if Jokowi's son Gibran takes part

Kompas.com – October 20, 2023
Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka pictured in Solo – October 19, 2023 (Kompas)

Aryo Putranto Saptohutomo, Jakarta – There are concerns that the 2024 presidential election will not run fairly or equally if President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's eldest son and Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka is one of the participants.

Political expert Ikrar Nusa Bakti says that if this happens, the possibility of abuse of power by mobilising state institutions to ensure the victory of a certain party will be difficult to avoid.

"It is not impossible that during the implementation of the elections they will resort to abuse of power", said Bakti when contacted on Thursday October 19.

Bakti said that the tendency of those in power to intervene in political processes like the 2024 elections is very open. Especially, said Bakti, since President Widodo has already said publically that he has indeed been intervening, or cawe-cawe in Javanese, ahead of the legislative and presidential elections.

"The facts are already in the open. For example, [Trade] Minister Zulkifli Hasan, he claimed to have been asked to lobby by Pak [Mr] Jokowi, although he referred to the Pak Lurah [village chief, which is understood to mean Widodo]. He admitted this directly, right. [Tourism and Creative Industries Minister] Sandiaga Uno also, right, admitted to lobbying the political parties on Pak Jokowi's orders. He is taking part in cawe-cawe not for Indonesia's future, but for his children's future", said Bakti.

Bakti is also concerned that state institutions ranging from Polri (the national police), the TNI (Indonesian military), the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the Constitutional Court (MK) to the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN) will not be neutral because they will be used in the interests of maintaining power.

"Make no mistake, these state institutions can be used to make black campaigns, negative campaigns. That is precisely what's feared, not a political dynasty. Political dynasties are common. They also exist in the United States", said Bakti.

"Don't let there be legal manipulation, engineering of security, and political manipulation to ensure the victory of a certain electoral ticket", added Bakti.

Bakti believes that the Constitutional Court's recent ruling on a judicial review of the minimum age requirements for a presidential and vice presidential candidate in Law Number 7/2017 on Elections was very political and in the interests of a certain party.

"The politicisation of the MK is very apparent. The MK has become an institution that makes judicial rulings on things that smack of politics. So don't blame people if they suspect that the [the October 16] ruling was in Gibran's interests", explained Bakti.

"For me, the MK's ruling was not just a step back for democracy, but also a tragedy for our democracy", continued Bakti.

As has been reported, earlier this week the Constitutional Court, presided over by Gibran's uncle Chief Justice Anwar Usman, ruled to accept part of a judicial review in case Number 90/PUU-XXI/2023 on the minimum age requirements for presidential and vice presidential candidates. The ruling was read out at a hearing at the Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta on Monday October 16.

In the ruling, four of the constitutional justices – Suhartoyo, Arief Hidayat, Saldi Isra and Wahiduddin Adams – expressed a dissenting opinion.

The ruling allows a person who has held the position of regional head or state official who was chosen through an election to nominate themselves as a presidential or vice presidential candidate even if they are less than 40 years of age.

Over the last week Gibran has been in the public spotlight because he has been encouraged and considered worthy of becoming a vice presidential candidate (cawapres).

Moreover in several parts of the country, billboards and adverts have displayed Gibran's face alongside pictures of the presumptive presidential candidate from the Onward Indonesia Coalition (Koalisi Indonesia Maju, KIM) Prabowo Subianto.

This is despite the fact that Gibran is a member of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). The party with the symbol of the white snouted bull however has already put forward former Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo and Security Chief Mahfud MD as their presidential and vice presidential ticket.

Prior to the Constitutional Court's ruling, Gibran's chances of participating in the 2024 electoral contest were closed because he is only 36-years old and therefore did not meet the minimum age requirement. Now, after the ruling, the door is wide open for Gibran to take part.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pakar Ragu Pilpres 2024 Berjalan Adil jika Gibran Jadi Peserta".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/10/20/05100041/pakar-ragu-pilpres-2024-berjalan-adil-jika-gibran-jadi-peserta