JAKARTA: An Indonesian court on Monday rejected several petitions seeking to change eligibility rules for presidential and vice presidential candidates, complicating a widely anticipated bid by the incumbent leader’s son to run on an election ticket next year.
The Constitutional Court was delivering rulings on a series of similar petitions on Monday, amid growing criticism of what sources say are efforts by outgoing President Joko Widodo to build a political dynasty and retain influence long after leaving office.
The world’s third-biggest democracy is set to vote in simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 14 next year.
Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is neck-and-neck in opinion polls with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, while ex-Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan is a distant third.
Chief Justice Anwar Usman, who is the president’s brother-in-law and leads a panel of nine judges, rejected petitions to lower the minimum age to 35 from 40 and to allow anyone with civil service experience to run for president and vice president.
The judges said determining the age limit was up to lawmakers and that the petition had no “reasoning according to law”. If granted, the petition would have allowed the president’s son and mayor of Surakarta city, Gibran Rakabuming Raka to contest the February election, most likely as Prabowo’s running mate. Gibran did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last week, Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, brushed off a question about growing criticism that he is building a political dynasty, saying the choice of leader should be left to the people. Presidential candidates and their running mates are expected to formally register with the elections commission between Oct 19-25.