Indonesia court ruling may pave way for Jokowi’s younger son to run for Jakarta deputy governor


Kaesang Pangarep 29, has been promoted as a potential candidate for deputy governor of Jakarta. - AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesia's Supreme Court has approved regulatory changes on the age of candidates in regional elections, the court said on Thursday (May 30), amid speculation the president's 29-year-old son is seeking to run in upcoming Jakarta elections.

A petition was filed with the court last month calling for the rules to be changed so that candidates could be 30 years old when they are inaugurated, rather than on the date when the election commission first confirms their bid.

Suharto, a spokesperson for the court, said the court had approved the changes, filed by the Garuda Party, an obscure group aligned with the ruling coalition.

"It is so that Indonesia can be led by youngsters," said Teddy Gusnady, a Garuda spokesperson.

The surprise ruling comes as President Joko Widodo's youngest son, Kaesang Pangarep, 29, has been promoted as a potential candidate for deputy governor of Jakarta, where regional elections will be held this November.

Kaesang, best known for his fried banana business and recent appointment as head of Indonesia's Solidarity Party (PSI), does not turn 30 until December.

Recent social media posts have featured mock election posters of Budisatrio Djiwandono, the nephew of president-elect Prabowo Subianto, alongside Kaesang.

Prabowo's Gerindra party and PSI officials did not immediately respond to questions about Kaesang's candidacy, but the posters were shared on Gerindra's official Instagram page, and by a top Gerindra official on Wednesday.

The court ruling follows concern about the extent of dynastic politics in the world's third-largest democracy, and moves to undermine the integrity of its top courts.

In February, former military commander Prabowo won the presidential election in a landslide with his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the eldest son of the president. Gibran's candidacy was enabled by controversial changes to election law, a revision that was also proposed by the Garuda Party.

But legal experts say that for Kaesang to run as deputy governor in Jakarta changes would have to be made not only to the election regulations, but to regional election law.

"Since the age requirement is regulated in the regional election law, if there's any appeal, it should be filed to the Constitutional Court, not the Supreme Court," said legal expert Titi Anggraini.

"So, Kaesang should not be able to register in the 2024 regional election," she said. - Reuters

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