Sunday, February 25, 2024 | 05:27 WIB

Constitutional Court’s age decision favors the young

Jakarta, IO – The world seems puzzled by the recent buzz in Indonesia’s election process. Why puzzled? Because many democracy activists questioned or rejected the Constitutional Court’s decision allowing Indonesian citizens below 40 years of age to qualify as presidential or vice-presidential candidates. 

Rejection of the Constitutional Court’s decision, one that provides space for young people’s participation even came from people who are the most radical and militant of liberal democracy fighters. Don’t these people believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God? 

The world is, of course, perplexed, because the basic value of this democracy is that every person with the right to vote has the right to be voted for. If the person running for election is considered incompetent, lacking in experience, inadequate and unworthy, the people will not choose him. The people will, instead, vote for someone else who could be older or younger. They decide. The world of democracy will deem it bizarre if young people are prohibited or discouraged from running for office or being nominated as presidential or vice-presidential candidates. What kind of democracy is this? 

Salamuddin Daeng
Salamuddin Daeng, Former ’98 student activist and political economy expert

The political breakthrough, “breaking the glass ceiling” by 37-year-old Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the Mayor of Solo, has triggered his political opponents. The rejection was even expressed through criticizing, sneering or mocking the younger generation, calling them snotty kids, spoiled brats and other insults. Meanwhile, many great young leaders thrive in other parts of the world. History also records major global events, because of the quantum leap of young leaders. Thus, mocking young people like this does not seem fitting in this era. 

Gibran’s participation in the presidential election is rumored to thwart the execution of an honest and fair election because the incumbent president will side with his son. Thus, this rejection is actually not about the Constitutional Court’s decision. Linking the Constitutional Court’s decision to Gibran’s participation in the vice-presidential battle is out of place! It has no connection with the legal aspect whatsoever. 

The Constitutional Court only adjudicates one norm, that is, whether a law conflicts with the Constitution. Refusing to allow young people to run as vice-presidential candidates clearly contradicts the Constitution. The Constitutional Court’s pro-youth decision is obviously progressive. 

Read: Accelerating The Adoption Of Agricultural Technology

Moreover, this Constitutional Court’s decision is quite fair, as it provides equal opportunities for all voters aged 40 and below to run as presidential or vice-presidential candidates. This also provides an equal opportunity for political parties to discover vice presidential candidates from young people, to gain the support of 60 million young voters in the upcoming 2024 elections. 

The concern that President Jokowi will build a dynasty if Gibran is elected seems to be an unfounded fear. How can a president who is always labeled a “just a Party agent” build a dynasty through his son? If it is a dynasty, why does he need to run for office and ask to be elected, even though there is no guarantee of victory? A dynasty has absolute power, unlike the power of a president, who is often bullied as a party agent. I believe this term has been ineptly chosen.

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