The defendant and the related party in the presidential election litigation has rejected the arguments presented by the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno legal team during Tuesday’s hearing at the Constitutional Court (MK). The arguments will be reviewed in another hearing on Wednesday.
JAKARTA, KOMPAS — The Constitutional Court is entering the stage of reviewing the plaintiff’s arguments in the litigation over the 2019 presidential election, with the presentation of witnesses and experts from both sides from Wednesday (19/6/2019) to Friday. The quality of the witnesses will have a direct influence on the plaintiff’s legal arguments and on convincing the justices in reaching their ruling.
Calling for testimony from witnesses and experts is part of the litigation disputing the results of the 2019 presidential election, which losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno have filed. The plaintiff read out its legal arguments during a hearing at the court on 17 June 2019.
On Tuesday, the General Elections Commission (KPU) as the defendant and the Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin camp as the related party responded to the main points of the litigation. The court also offered an opportunity to the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to present a statement.
In reviewing the grounds for the dispute, the Constitutional Court justices will now assess the arguments that have been presented by calling witnesses and experts and reviewing the documents provided as evidence.
The court is scheduled to hear the plaintiff’s witnesses on Wednesday. Constitutional Court chief justice Anwar Usman said the court had limited the number of testimonies it would hear to 15 witnesses and two experts. The plaintiff had requested permission from the court to present more witnesses. However, the court rejected the request, stating that the quality of the witnesses would take precedence over their quantity.
Prabowo-Sandiaga legal team head Bambang Widjojanto also submitted two letters to the court. In one letter, he urged the court to request protection from the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) for the plaintiff’s witnesses. In the other, Bambang urged the court to subpoena state institutions or law enforcement bodies to present witnesses at the hearing.
Justice Suhartoyo responded, saying that the court must remain passive in civil suits and that the burden of presenting witnesses lay with the plaintiff. On witness protection, Suhartoyo said that the court would guarantee the safety and security of all witnesses at the court.
“Regarding the [request for involving the LPSK], the court cannot grant this, as there is no legal foundation for involving the LPSK. The LPSK Law limits its duty to [providing protection] for witnesses in criminal cases. If the court orders the LPSK to act without a legal foundation, the people will question the court’s juridical basis [for doing so],” Suhartoyo said.
Defendant rejects arguments
On Tuesday, the KPU as the defendant rejected the plaintiff’s arguments. Earlier, the plaintiff stated its argument that the presidential election involved structured, systematic and widespread fraud, including in the misuse of the state budget and the government’s work programs, the lack of neutrality among the state apparatus and the misuse of state bureaucracy and state-owned enterprises.
The KPU said that the argument regarding the existence of structured, systematic and widespread fraud contained no details on where and when this had occurred, who had been involved, how it had been orchestrated and how it had affected the result of the presidential election. Furthermore, the plaintiff had failed to elaborate how the KPU, as the election organizer, had colluded with a presidential candidate pair to affect the result of the election.
The defendant also reiterated its objection to the litigation that was presented in the 17 June hearing, claiming that the terms of the litigation had been revised. Constitutional Court Regulation No. 5/2018 on election disputes did not recognize revisions to lawsuits against the presidential election. Article 3, Point (2) of the regulation stipulated this clearly in contrast to revisions to lawsuits against the legislative election.
KPU lawyer Ali Nurdin said that the revised suit submitted on 10 June was entirely different from the original petition filed on 24 May. The KPU rejected the use of the revised suit, but still responded to the arguments the plaintiff had put forward in it.
The legal team of the Jokowi-Ma’ruf camp also presented its counterarguments to the plaintiff’s suit. It said that most of the arguments that the Prabowo-Sandiaga team had presented were presumptive, predictive and indicative. The team argued that election disputes at the court should concern the vote count instead of electoral procedures, as stipulated in Article 475, Point (2) of Law No. 7/2017 on elections.
“The court’s authority is limited to hearing disputes on the voting results. The Constitutional Court is not the proper forum for resolving alleged violations of election regulations and fraud,” said Yusril Ihza Mahendra, the head of the Jokowi-Amin legal team.
Administrative law lecturer Bivitri Susanti of the Indonesia Jentera School of Law (IJSL) said verification was an important process in the election dispute resolution. (REK