Indonesian News

First Requests for Election Law Review Filed at Constitutional Court

Jakarta Globe News Headlines - Mon, 2014-09-29 23:05
  [caption id="attachment_325636" align="aligncenter" width="780"] An activist holds
up a poster during a protest against the regional elections bill in Central Jakarta on Sept. 14, 2014. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)[/caption] Jakarta. A selection of individuals and nongovernmental organizations have started filing requests for judicial review of Article 3 of the hotly contested regional elections law at the Constitutional Court. The organizations objecting to the controversial law, which was passed last week after a marathon session at the House of Representatives, include the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) and the Press Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Pers) "Their constititutional rights have been violated, as they [plaintiffs] lost their right to directly elect local leaders," lawyer Wahyudi Djafar said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara on Monday. Article 3 of the law stipulates that elections of mayors, district heads and governors be conducted by local and regional legislative councils — and not in direct elections, as had been the case previously. Djafar said the issue of direct or indirect local elections touched on people's fundamental rights. "It is our nation's foundation," he said. "That is why this is arranged in the first article of the Constitution: the sovereignty is in the hands of the people."
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Anas Urbaningrum to Appeal 8-Year Prison Sentence

Jakarta Globe News Headlines - Mon, 2014-09-29 22:23
[caption id="attachment_329418" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Anas Urbaningrum at the Anti-Corruption Court last week. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)[/caption] Jakarta. Graft convict Anas Urbaningrum will appeal the eight-year prison sentence handed down to him by the Anti-Corruption Court, the former Democratic Party chairman's lawyer said on Monday. “After reviewing the ruling and considering advice from family, friends and supporters, today, with all due respect to the panel of judges and the Corruption Eradication Commission [KPK], Anas has decided to use his right to appeal,” lawyer Handika Honggo Wongso said. Anas last week was found guilty of taking bribes as part of his involvement in several government projects, and money laundering. Besides sentencing him to serve eight years in jail, the court also ordered him to pay a Rp 300 million ($25,000) fine, or spend an extra three months in jail, and ordered him to repay Rp 57 billion and $5.2 million in state losses as a consequence of his actions. Handika claimed that there was no evidence of Anas having been involved in corruption. “The eight-year sentence is too heavy and baseless,” Handika said. “And the repayment order is legally unsound because there were no state losses in the case of Anas. He did not receive Rp 55 billion and $5 million.” Handika said that the appeal would be filed on Tuesday. Prosecutors for the KPK, which had sought a 15-year jail sentence, have already filed an appeal against the court ruling.
Categories: Indonesian News, News

Constitutional Court Rejects Judicial Review of MD3 Law

Jakarta Globe News Headlines - Mon, 2014-09-29 21:26
[caption id="attachment_329322" align="aligncenter" width="780"] Constitutional Court chief justice Hamdan Zoelva, left, and justice Patrialis Akbar. (Antara Photo/Andika Wahyu)[/caption] [This story was updated on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.] Jakarta. The Constitutional Court on Monday rejected a request for a judicial review of the controversial Law on Legislative Bodies, also known as the MD3 law, clearing the way for the parties opposing President-elect Joko Widodo to take control of key positions in the new House of Representatives. The MD3 law had garnered widespread criticism since its passage by the House on July 8 — when Indonesia was focusing on the next day’s landmark presidential election. But chief justice Hamdan Zoelva said on Monday that the Constitutional Court rejected the objections raised by Joko's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). One of the reasons for the decision, the court said, was that the applicant — the PDI-P — did not have the required legal standing. The court explained that the political party suffered no infringement of its constitutional rights as a consequence of the implementation of the law, and it therefore had no valid reason to file the request. The PDI-P won the most votes in the April 9 legislative election, but based on the new MD3 Law, the party will not be automatically handed the post of House speaker, as had been the case before. Under the new law, the speaker’s post will be put to a vote if there is no consensus on whom to appoint. Given the PDI-P’s lack of a majority in the new House, the post is unlikely to go to the PDI-P. The same mechanism also applies to other key positions at the house: heads of commissions, the Budget Committee (Banggar), the Legislative Body, the Households Affairs Committee (BURT), the inter-parliamentary body BKSAP and the Ethics Council will have to gather a majority of votes. 'Baseless' claims As a consequence, even though the PDI-P won both the legislative and presidential elections this year, its power at the House will be limited. The opposition parties on the other hand, united under the Merah Putih banner and led by the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party of Joko's rival Prabowo Subianto, will be able to rake in all important House jobs. Realizing this prospect of tough times ahead, the PDI-P filed for a review claiming that some articles of the MD3 Law — 84, 97, 104, 109, 115, 121, 152 — were unconstitutional. The party also argued that there were flaws during the deliberation and the passage of the law, a process it described as insufficiently transparent and not based on academic insights. Patrialis Akbar, a Constitutional Court justice who previously served as a politician for the National Mandate Party (PAN), which joined Prabowo's coalition, refused to accept the PDI-P claims. He said that no procedures were violated when the law — originally issued in 2009 — was amended. He also called "baseless" the claim of the PDI-P that the new leadership selection method contradicted the principle of legal certainty and fairness. “The method of [selecting] leaders of the House of Representatives is stipulated in the House's regulations, and it does not contradict legal principles,” Patrialis said, as quoted by “The [selection] of House of Representatives leaders is the right and authority of elected lawmakers.” Patrialis added that the court found that it was not discriminatory to no longer automatically grant the seat of House speaker to the party with the largest number of seats. Divided government likely Ari Dwipayana, a political expert from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, told the Jakarta Globe that he was not surprised at Monday's ruling, even if the Constitutional Court failed to consider the fact that the law was passed because of political interests just a day before the presidential election. “The court only looked at whether [the law] was constitutional or not, but failed to assess whether the law had gone through the proper procedures before it was passed. They did not care about the political interests. They also did not care about whether the process was transparent,” Ari said. He added that the ruling would have two consequences. The first, the academic said, would be that Merah Putih is going to divvy up the various posts at the House. “And secondly, this can lead to a divided government,” Ari said. "The executive would be controlled by the coalition of Jokowi-JK [Joko Widodo and his incoming vice president, Jusuf Kalla], and the legislature would be controlled by the Merah Putih coalition." "This will make it very difficult for the government to carry out its vision and mission, in terms of legislation, budgeting and the recruitment of people for strategic positions."
Categories: Indonesian News, News
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