The victory of Nur Mahmudi Ismail in Depok’s mayoral election two years ago has been shaken by a decision from the Supreme Court issued this year.
The ruling, which was published on the Supreme Court’s website on Wednesday, rejected an appeal filed by the Depok Election Commission (KPU Depok) regarding a candidate’s legitimacy in the election.
The decision potentially calls into question the legitimacy of the results, though the exact effects of the ruling are unclear, to say the least.
“If the participants are illegal, it means the result is also illegal,” Jeirry Sumampouw, Indonesian Voters Committee Coordinator (Tepi), told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday. “The substance of the decision is that the election was not legitimate, so the result and mayor are also illegitimate.”
Based on the court ruling, there should have only been three candidates in 2010’s election instead of four.
KPU Depok officially declared four pair of candidates for the mayoral election on Aug. 24, 2010: Gagah Sumantri-Dery Drajat, Yuyun Wirasaputra-Pradi Supriyatna, Nur Mahmudi Ismail-Idris Abdul Somad and Badul Kamal-Supriyanto.
Yuyun and Badrul were both backed by People’s Conscience Party (Hanura).
But under KPU regulations, a party can only support one candidate, and not two. Hanura claimed that the decision to support Yuyun was taken by party board members who have since been fired, though it’s not clear if they were terminated over their rogue decision.
Regardless of Hanura’s assertion that their official candidate was Badrul, KPU Depok ruled that Hanura’s original intent was to support Yuyun.
The results of the election were as follows: Nur Mahmudi-Idris 41.02 percent of total votes, Badrul Kamal-Supriyanto 27 percent, Yuyun Wirasaputra-Pradi Supriyatna 22.25 percent and Gagah Sumantri-Dery Drajat 9.81 percent.
If Yuyun was indeed deemed an illegitimate candidate and ousted from the list, his votes could go to Badrul instead, who could have won, or at least forced a second election round.
Hanura was not satisfied with the KPU’s insistence on naming Yuyun as their candidate, and filed a complaint against the KPU with the State Administrative Court (PTUN).
In Dec. 2010, the West Java Administrative Court decided that KPU decision on all four candidates was illegitimate. Even though the election process had long been over, it ordered the commission to issue a new decision stating that only three candidates were eligible.
KPU Depok filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which turned down the request on March, 2012, and published the ruling on Wednesday.
Election observer Refly Harun told the Jakarta Globe that such a verdict represents a “grey decision,” which could be translated differently, depending on political interests.
“It’s weird that the Supreme Court issued such a decision after the whole election is process over,” he said. “It should have not received the case, knowing that it would only create legal uncertainty.”
While one interpretation could be that the commission should repeat the election, Home Affairs Ministry spokesman Reydonnyzar Monoek told Jakarta Globe that the ruling would change nothing.
“The election winner has been declared by the Constitutional Court,” Reydonnyzar said. “Dispute about who were the legitimate candidates will not influence the result of the election. It will not annul the election result.”
Amid the controversy, the Supreme Court refused to explain the impact of its ruling.
“It is up to KPU Depok to decide whether to repeat the election or taking other decision,” Ridwan Mansur, spokesman of the Supreme Court said. “The Supreme Court only annulled the KPU’s decision.”