October 17, 2023
JAKARTA – In an unexpected turn of events, the Constitutional Court ruled on Monday to allow candidates under the age of 40, but with experience as elected officials, to run in presidential elections, opening the way for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son to run in 2024.
The ruling appeared to be a direct about-face from its previous rulings on similar cases read out earlier on the same day, when the court upheld the minimum age of candidacy of 40 without exception.
The court said the latest ruling, in a petition by a university student Almas Tsaqibbirru, automatically rendered the previous rulings void.
This decision clears the way for Jokowi’s son, mayor of Surakarta in Central Java, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, to run for vice president in the 2024 election.
While the 36-year-old eldest son of Jokowi has not publicly announced any interest in contesting the race, politicians backing presumptive Gerindra Party nominee Prabowo Subianto had been calling for him to choose Gibran as his running mate.
Critics had called on the Constitutional Court justices to reject the petitions, citing judicial overreach and an attempt at political dynasty building. They also said Chief Justice Anwar Usman, Jokowi’s brother-in-law and Gibran’s uncle, should have recused himself from adjudicating on the case to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
A law major at Surakarta University, Almas wrote in his petition that he was inspired by the success of the Surakarta mayor and that he himself aspired to become president or vice president of the country.