Panel fights poll delay ruling

Controversial decision: Lawmakers say the lower court has no authority to issue such a ru­ling that effectively pushes back the election scheduled for Feb 14, 2024, to a date in 2025 at the earliest. — Reuters

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has filed additional materials in its appeal against a ruling by a lower court ordering it to postpone the 2024 general elections, with the election organiser claiming that it had found that the controversial ruling was upheld by a discrepancy.

The ruling was issued by a three-member judicial panel at the Central Jakarta District Court in early March for a civil lawsuit brought by the newly formed Just and Prosperous People’s (Prima) Party, which claimed that it was denied the chance to participate in the 2024 general election by the KPU. In its verdict, the court orders the KPU to halt all ongoing election processes and restart the process lasting 28 months and seven days.

Lawmakers say the lower court has no authority to issue such a ruling that effectively pushes back the general election scheduled for Feb 14, 2024, to a date in 2025 at the earliest.

KPU commissioner Mochammad Afifuddin said the commission had submitted additional materials last Monday in its appeal against the ruling, claiming that it had found a discrepancy between a legal fact that appears in the court’s decision and the KPU’s account.

The published court ruling states that “the Court has sought peace between the parties through mediation ... by appointing judges at the Central Jakarta District Court as a mediator”, and “based on the mediator’s report on Oct 26, 2022, the peace effort was unsuccessful”.

Afifuddin dismissed these statements as “untrue”, saying KPU had never received “any invitation for or attempt at mediation” before the lower court issued its ruling, thus the lawsuit process was flawed.

The poll body has called for an interlocutory decision ordering to court to provide mediation between KPU and the Prima Party.

The KPU insisted that the court should grant its request, as “there was a need to prioritise the interests of the state”, which was obliged to execute the provisions of the General Election Law stipulating that the general elections must be held every five years.

The prevailing laws also did not accommodate delaying the elections, Affifudin added.

The Elections Supervisory Agency ruled on Monday that the KPU had committed an “administrative violation” in denying Prima’s application to register as an election participant, and so the party would be allowed to resubmit its application.

This opens a possibility for settling the party’s dispute with the election organiser without postponing the elections. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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