The president’s brother-in-law, Anwar Usman, was found to have broken the ethics code by a panel looking into a verdict on election regulations.
The top judge in Indonesia was demoted by a court panel for having a conflict of interest in a decision made last month that let the son of President Joko Widodo to run for vice president.
The president’s brother-in-law, Anwar Usman, was found guilty of a “serious breach” of the court’s ethics code when he neglected to withdraw from the ruling on the age restrictions for presidential and vice presidential candidates.
With a five-four majority, the decision made it possible for Gibran Rakabuming Raka, the 36-year-old oldest son of Widodo, to compete with Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto for vice president.
The ethics panel concluded that Anwar had “violated judges’ ethical code, specifically the principle of neutrality and integrity as he did not recuse himself.”
It said that Anwar had “violated the principle of independence” and “had purposely opened a room for intervention from an external party” without providing any further details.
Anwar may continue to serve as one of the court’s nine judges, but the panel, which has no power to alter the case’s decision, ordered that he refrain from participating in any election-related matters in which he could have a conflict of interest.
After ruling that candidates for election who had previously held elected office need not meet the minimum age requirement of 40, the panel was requested to look into the behavior of judges in the face of public uproar.
Only a few days before the 2024 election registration period opened, the decision was taken.
Along with criticizing Anwar, the panel also chastised the other eight judges for their violations of the ethical standards in making the ruling.
Usman won’t be able to nominate himself or be nominated by other justices to head the court until his tenure expires, according to former chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie, who presided over the three-person panel.
In addition, Asshiddique stated that he must abstain from arbitrating election result challenges that present “a potential conflict of interest.”
Over the course of the following two days, the nine-member constitutional court will choose Usman’s replacement as chief judge.
Usman should be “dishonourably dismissed” from his position as a court justice, according to panel member Bintan R. Saragih’s opposing judgment, given his flagrant disregard for the court’s code of ethics.
After reading the council’s ruling, Asshiddiqie spoke up and stated that they had chosen not to remove Usman from his position as a court justice since doing so would have necessitated the creation of an appeals panel and created uncertainty in the run-up to the elections.
“We require clarity to avoid causing issues that might lead to an uneasy election process,” he stated.
The selection of Gibran as a vice presidential candidate has fueled accusations in Indonesia that Widodo is attempting to establish a political dynasty in the third-largest democracy in the world. Gibran is now the mayor of Surakarta (Solo) city.
Widodo has not openly endorsed a candidate and is nearing the end of his second and last term.