Indonesia’s Constitutional Court will soon issue a decision on a legal challenge by presidential contender Prabowo Subianto to overturn the results of last month’s election, in which Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo was declared the winner. It will be one of the biggest decisions in the history of Indonesia’s young democracy, and it will be left to the court’s nine judges. The justices are appointed by the House of Representatives, the president and the Supreme Court, each of which is entitled to appoint three justices to serve five-year terms at two term limits. Exception lies with the chief justice, who is elected by the other court judges to serve a term of only 2.5 years. In a court whose responsibilities include dissolving political parties and resolving disputes over election results, the judges are a mixed group. Some have links to political groupings that have supported Mr. Subianto. Others are career judges, some with backgrounds in Islamic law.
The court’s official website provides some details:
“The Constitutional Court had in the past made controversial … bold rulings that were repeatedly challenged by both legal experts and politicians,” chief justice Mr. Zoelva wrote in a blogpost on July 7th, 2008, two years before he was inducted to the court. The statement appeared on his personal blog as a reflection of his view on the Constitutional Court’s role in Indonesia’s state administration system. On another personal note, Mr. Zoelva’s brother, Ahmad Thib Raya, is married to Musdah Mulia, the director of the Megawati Institute – a Jakarta-based think tank founded by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri – and a member of Mr. Widodo’s campaign team.